There’s an on-going struggle at my house to get my children to use less screen time (iPads or iPhones, TV, or video games). My wife actually does an amazing job keeping
the kids our circus at bay with this and from what I can tell, their screen time is below the average. However, its still too much and I realized recently – because my wife told me – that I am a bad influence on them with the amount of time I was spending on a device.
My main problem is that I read on my phone or tablet. A lot. Sure, I do my fair share of email and gaming on those devices but at least half of my time is spent reading. Books or Pocket articles mostly. And I try not to be too engaged with my phone when we’re doing something as a family, but when there is any downtime I immediately grab my phone. And then they want to play electronics because dad is.
My first thought was, ok, I’ll start buying real books and reading those. And I did. I bought Ready Player One, a book about video games (#irony), and while I’m almost done reading it I just can’t bring myself to buy another actual paperback book. I can’t read it in the dark! I can’t read it if I’m stuck in the doctors office because I won’t have it with me! And I can’t look up words or references immediately online! It’s like being in the dark ages :)
So, to solve my problem of using electronics too much at home, I’m buying one more piece of technology: the Kindle Paperwhite. But the key is, I sat my kids down and showed them that on the Paperwhite, all daddy can do is read. I can’t play games. I can’t watch video. I can’t “work”. It’s like holding a book in my hands. The theory is – and we’ll see if it plays out this way – that they will see me with that device and understand I’m reading and reading alone, which is something we promote in our household.
While that is the #1 reason I’m doing this, I do think its going to have side benefits for me personally. Not having email or “work” or Netflix or video games one click away at any moment will help me stay more focused and be more engaged. And I’ll likely read a lot more, which is one of my big goals.
Side note: One of the things that pushed me over the edge was realizing that I can add my Pocket articles sent automatically to my Kindle via this service. So far its worked like a charm.