So as much as I try to deny it, and for as much as I try to justify it, there’s just no getting around it anymore…I’m addicted to my iPhone. I guess I really started to think deeply about it a couple of weeks ago when I was planning a parent workshop on the dangers of screen time and children. That, coupled with a great book that I just finished reading titled, The Big Disconnect, got me thinking about my own relationship with screens, particularly my phone, and the changes that I need to make to get to a healthier place in my life. It took a while but I guess it finally hit me…I need to do a better job of modeling a healthy screen time relationship not just for my own sake, but for my kids and my colleagues as well. The other thing is this…I’m not alone, and I bet if you think about it you’ll see that we’re all in this same boat together.
As educators we often discuss and debate the place that screens have in schools, and obviously these are really important conversations in this day and age. Actually, with all the research now out about how our brains are changing due to the excessive use of technology, these might just be the most important discussions that we can be having in schools…but you know what, it’s hard and really, really tricky to get it right and to find that healthy balance. One of my favorite quotes from the aforementioned book states that technology has been “designed to serve us, please us, inform us, entertain us, and connect us, and now our digital devices have come to define us”, and it’s true…we don’t just love our devices, we’re addicted to them. I’m worried about our society honestly, and how chained we are to technology and social media, and I’m wondering where it’s going to take us…will it get worse before it finally gets so bad that it wakes us all up and then gets better, or will it simply just get worse.
The thing that I’ve realized in my own life is this…it’s on me. With all the concern that I have about my own children and how much time they are spending on their devices both in school and out, the best way forward is to change my own habits and to lead by example. You see, my son loves the word “hypocrite”, and enjoys using it whenever I ask him to get off his iPad, and you know what, he’s right when he says it. Just last week he texted me from the same room and told me to get off my phone so I could come over and watch a video that he wanted to show me…unbelievable…but that was the final straw. So we finally came together as a family and created a family tech plan, which holds us all accountable for our daily use, and sets parameters for when and how we can engage with our devices. Like all habits though it takes time, energy, commitment and a whole lot of discipline to change them, but it’s been so freeing. With all the new found time we can bike ride, play outside, play games, be creative and imaginative, cook together, read (not on our devices), and we can talk more to each other…nice!
Anyway, the reason I’m sharing all of this with you is because I suspect that many of you (all of you) can also afford to take a critical look at your own relationship with screens, and find ways to build a healthier relationship. We have a responsibility as educators to model the behavior that we want to see in our kids, and if we want to decrease the amount of time that they spend on their devices then we need to show them the way…right now we aren’t doing a very good job of that…I know I’m not. The most important thing that we can do as adults is to model better screen time behavior for our kids…think about your screen habits after you read this and make a change or two…take it from me, it’s freeing and life changing for the better! Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.
Quote of the Week…
Smart phones are so convenient that they’re an inconvenience
– Haruki Murakami
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The Perils of Screen Addiction (and How to Beat It)
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