Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Benefits of an Electronics-Free Zone

In our home, there's three cell phones, a TV, iPad, and two laptops. It's really technology overload. Things play out much like this if we're not cautious: one kid's on the iPad, another watching Netflix on the television using our Wii console, and another playing games on mom or dad's cell phone. Even my husband and I could be utilizing our laptops, and in a family of five, zero human interaction is happening. When I see this unfolding in our home, I immediately feel uneasy. I'll be honest, we are not the kind of family that limits the use of electronics everyday, but we're definitely getting there.

Just yesterday, I declared our home an "electronics-free zone" and made it 6 hours technology-free. What this comes down to is making sure children have good alternatives. It also means parents have to stay away from their many gadgets.

For us an "electronics-free zone" consisted of water play, soccer, scrap-booking, a long family walk, a visit to our local pizza parlor and family chores. I  was thrilled to put away the iPad, shut down our PC's and keep Netflix off. Naturally, this led to added conversations, time to be creative (i.e. my son and I read a kid's cookbook together and planned dinners for the week), and more overall connection among our family.
Also, this gives us time to explain to (and show) our children the benefits of staying in the "no electronics zone"...

  • Improves interpersonal/social skills. I let my children know that the best love and interaction comes from irreplaceable humans and not those dime-a-dozen machines.
  • Keeps us healthy and active. Having electronics off leads to outside play and in our home that translates into long walks or soccer matches on the lawn.
  • Creates Real Connections. There's so much more to talk about among each other if we're not all buried in an electronic device.
  • Reminds Us of What Matters Most. Friends and family are one of a kind. They cannot be recreated virtually and deserve more attention than an iPad App or Television show!
Do you limit the use of electronics in your home, too?!?

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