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Prayerful Parenting – Electronics/Media

If my kids has their choice, they would spend almost every waking moment with electronics.  Indeed, that’s what statistics are bearing out for our children’s generation.  Reading here and there about the results of this trend is down-right scary!  It’s been heavy on my heart this summer that Tim and I needed to come up with a better plan for helping our balance real life with the plethora of electronic options.  Here’s the problem – my hubby is an IT Manager who loves all things electronics!  The latest and greatest innovations will always be a part of our home.  The blessing of this is that our kids will learn about it from an expert.  The flip side is that I wasn’t sure Tim understood the crisis that the influx of so much electronic/media time is creating for kids in general, and especially our children.  He sees the good in it.  I’ve been reading all about the bad.  What to do?  We had a date planned where we were going to take time to discuss key points (including this very subject) in several of the books I had been reading.  I began to pray toward that day that God would help Tim’s heart be tender to these issues.  Imagine my surprise when he mentioned that the Wednesday before our Saturday date, there would be a technology seminar at a local church that he wanted to attend.  Imagine my bigger surprise when he came home from the meeting and said it was actually on media!  Imagine my huge surprise, when at our date, he pulled out pages of notes from said seminar and began to detail many of the points I had wanted to share with him!  WOW!  What a clear answer to prayer!  Tim would have certainly taken it seriously had I had shared the same things.  But, what a blessing for him to hear it from a man in ministry that he really respects (Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries – www.probe.org). 

What did we do with that information?  We hammered it out into a plan for our family.  This isn’t a one size fits all thing.  Some families will be more strict than us, and others will be more lenient.  Feel free to use this as a tool as you prayerfully consider this area for your family.  We held a family meeting and Tim shared our new plan with the kiddos.  I sat amazed as Tim turned it into a discussion style rather than laying it out dictatorial style.  It was a powerful example to me as I would have been tempted to turn the whole thing into a long soliloquy!  His back and forth approach allowed for the kids to feel ownership in the process and receive the privileges with attached responsibilities with positive attitudes.  

Electronic Plan and Privileges

Electronics Privileges (During School Year)
Monday – Friday = 1 hr/day
Saturday – Sunday = 2 hrs/day

Freedoms:
-Schedule it as you wish during the day.
-Use any form of electronics we have.
-You have the time to use, but don’t have to use any or all of it. 
-Parents won’t dictate when it’s used, unless it’s interfering with what’s planned for the day.
-You have the freedom as long as you are not abusing the privileges.

Responsibilities:
-Accountable for your own time.
-Be mature and wise about when to use it according to our schedule for the day.
-No “shared” electronic time if your time is up. (ie – If child 1 uses all his time, he may not sit and watch child 2 play Wii.)

Exceptions:
-Summer and Holidays = 2 hrs/day
-Family movie or tv share time does not count toward time limit.
-Music and audio books do not count toward time limit.
-iBooks do count toward time limit, so choose library books instead.  (Important from a financial stand-point and also limiting the electronic glare that can cause wakefulness at night.)

Friends over:
-Use electronics by permission.
-Allotted time will depend on length of hosting.
-Friends’ electronics will be collected by 10 PM on sleepovers.  One of your iPods may remain for music only.

Bedtime and electronics:
-Nothing but music or audio books

Electronic Communication: (Texting, Face Time…and in the future, E-mail, & Facebook.)
-Must ask permission to add new friends to text list.
-Avoid face-timing others when friends are with you.  Interact with who is actually with you.
-No texting after bedtime.
-Only communicate with family or friends that you know are real and approved (explain why).
-No girls texting boys and vice-versa (we will discuss this more as you get older).

For Safety:
We have filters and monitors on electronic devices in our home for our protection.  Know that we will do random checks to make sure you are safe in terms of content and appropriate in terms of time. 

Consequences:
If you show that you are not able to handle your freedoms responsibly, you will lose privileges.

Conclusion:
Discuss Discernment regarding media/electronics.  Ideas under that topic in Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.  Remember that we are accountable to God at home AND wherever else we go.  

 I’m no King Solomon, but I believe balance is part of what he’s talking about in
Ecclesiastes 3:1 when he says “There is a time for everything…” 
I think it’s fair to say the same goes for electronics. 
There is a time for them.  And, a time to put them away.

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3   Posted In:     |    Written By: Kara Durbin
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