The alarm buzzes softly in my ear and I groan to myself, "I don't want to get up yet." I hit the snooze button and my eyelids slide back into place while I catch a few more zzzzz's. Five minutes fly by too quickly. The alarm buzzes and again and I force myself to sit up, swing my feet to the floor and stretch my stiff neck and shoulders. I stand, stretching a bit more and begin dragging myself to the kitchen to make lunches for the kids. I go to the cupboard and retrieve the bread, peanut butter, and jelly from the fridge and get to work. My mind starts working...pondering...and I'm drawn by an invisible force to the computer. I turn it on, waiting impatiently for it to boot. I go back to making lunches while it boots. The pull gets stronger as I think about logging on. What have they been up to? What have they commented on? Finally it's ready and I click on the internet logo. A few comments spark my interest. Some make me laugh. Some I skip over.
I go back to the lunches, packing them into their boxes and then stuffing them into their backpacks. The pull is strong this morning; it sucks me in like a vacuum. Logically I know I have better things to do with my time. And when I finally drag myself away from the screen and focus on what needs to get done my head is fuzzy, foggy and a strange disconnected feeling takes hold. I feel tired and lazy.
There are so many ways that computers make life convenient and easy; less complicated. And then in other ways it's almost an addiction that we need desperately to recover from.
I see these same things happening to my children as they play on their touch screen devices, PS3 gaming systems and while watching TV. They too are sucked into a vortex of pleasing, sense dulling, entertainment. At times it alters behavior negatively. So what can we do to help reduce this effect on our families?
This is something that I work on regularly. We set time limits and rules.
1st: the chores must be complete, to my specifications, before they can start any games or TV. I reserve the right to say that they cannot play that day.
2nd: they can only play games on Tuesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays...when time permits.
3rd: When it's nice outside they need at least 30 minutes of time breathing in the fresh air and running free before sitting down to a game or TV show.
4th: They each get 30 minutes of game time each day and must set a timer.
Every family is different and needs to create rules or boundaries that fit them. You can get great ideas from others, but never feel pressured to do things exactly the way another family does them. Take those ideas, ponder on them and the needs of your family and carefully create a plan that fits you and your lifestyle. Take notice of how your children respond to different shows, movies, games, etc. At times we have had to eliminate certain games or shows because of the negative effect it had on one or more of our children. For example: one of our boys would get very violent after watching The Power Rangers. The kids can no longer watch those. Another son has severe meltdowns after playing or watching any Mario games. The kids no longer play any Mario games.
When making decisions concerning our family, we take time to pray about it so that we can be better equipped to make a decision that is good and right for our family. Work together to come up with a plan that works for you!