Kids and Technology: While we want our kids to embrace technology we do have rules. The one major rule that we stick to our guns with is No Screens in the Bedrooms. Yes folks, we are the "mean" parents who say NO TV (or any other screen) in the bedroom. Here's why...
I grew up with a television is my bedroom. No big deal, right? Well actually - it wasn't a big deal because it only had the basic channels that worked. There was no cable, no DVD player, no video games, no smart devices - just a TV. And if anyone who grew up in the 80's remembered TV back then, it didn't function at all hours. The national anthem would play and the screen would go dark. Now that I think about it, maybe my parents were just using my room for storage...
Fast forward to today. Our kids had cell phones when they are young, each grew up with their own tablets and computers. TV plays 24 hours anything we want. Yes, they can watch TV, play on the computer and tablet - but as far as the location of the devices - there are NO SCREENS ALLOWED IN THE BEDROOM.
No screens in the bedroom is one thing that we haven't budged on (and don't plan on budging on). I'll never forget my daughter seeing a Disney television that was decorated with princesses. She so wanted it for her bedroom, sorry kid. I know parents who have TVs in their kids' bedrooms - and if that's what happens in your house with your kids - great - your decision. For us, we decided it isn't something we allow our kids to do or have.
The kids have a playroom, in it is a TV. If they need to do work for school, they can take their screens to the dining room, family room or their dad's office. There are plenty of places in this house that aren't in their bedroom, if they need quiet time to focus.
Why We Don't Allow Screens in the Bedroom
So why so strict with no screens in the bedroom? Here are our 3 main reasons for no screens in the bedroom:
There is nothing that they need to do or view online that can't be done in the presence of their siblings or parents. As my kids age, I know there will be more temptation with sex. Whether it be porn or with sexting, I am not clueless to the world. There is too much access to the world through a tablet, computer or even a smart phone. That access is not kid-friendly and left alone with technology - there world's can easily become corrupted.
It scares me to think what our kids would find online if they were left to their own devices. We have had to have many discussions with our kids about things they have innocently found, while not doing anything"wrong." No screens in are in their room, and we still find all kinds of things that they are innocently (for the most part) stumbling upon on the internet:
- Search results from Google are delivering websites with porn.
- My child was playing Roblox and when I looked further into what was happening, someone was trying to con them into going to a secret room to have sex - ROBOT sex??? Sick.
- YouTube videos introducing sex without showing everything
- Ads for webcam sites
- My Little Pony websites that feature pony porn. (what the hell people...)
- Downloading malware and viruses. Yes, we use anti-virus software, but they don't protect everything.
And those are a few things my kids are finding with their tablets and computers in full sight.
My kids are good kids, but no angels. The 4-year-old has on many occasions - snuck downstairs, found an iPad and snuck it back upstairs and played it for hours on end - in his bedroom. If I were to give my kids permission to have technology and screens in their room - I know that it would be played all night long. Just like me, when I can't sleep - I turn to my phone. Maybe I should implement the no screen rule for my husband and myself! Arianna Huffington declared: "I personally have made my bedroom a device free zone..." Why? Because she values sleep.
"Researchers are finding that artificial light from some devices at night may tinker with brain chemicals that promote sleep. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute showed that exposure to light from computer tablets significantly lowered levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates our internal clocks and plays a role in the sleep cycle," - NY Times
3. Establishing Healthy Screen Time Limits
As parents, it's our job to help our kids create healthy relationships with their faith, food, exercise, people -- so wouldn't healthy limits with technology also be applicable. I do know I need to be a better example to my kids in many areas, including them not seeing me in front of a screen all the time (work-at-home mom problems!) I want to guide them to understanding there is a right and a wrong time to be online. They need to be able to communicate in person, not just through texting and emails.
I know that if I let my daughter use her laptop in her room, I would never see her. She'd hole herself up like a hermit and be online discovering the world by herself. I know my son would be sneaking Minecraft all hours of the night. Our toddlers would be throwing fits every time an ad popped up, or when the login prompt pops up after they attempt to make an in-app purchase. These are just problems we don't need in our house. Four kids, we have enough to deal with trying to raise these kids up right.
I love the internet and technology. It offers so much to this world and has changed how we live. But there are somethings that technology shouldn't be teaching my kids. I want my kids to hear about sex from me first. I want my kids to sleep well through the night without mindless web-surfing (or Pinteresting!). I want my kids to have a healthy relationship with the screen and technology. And that is why in our house, we have opted for no screens in the bedroom.
I know I may state this quite often, but someone stumbling on this post who doesn't know me or my heart may not have heard me say this: I believe how you parent is a personal choice. While I provide insight to how we raise our kids, I by no means judge you for what you decide is best for your home. What you do with your child and the rules for screens and bedrooms in your house, doesn't matter to me!
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