Group Think: Screen Time

Screen time has been something on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about what screen time is doing to my clients as a Speech Therapist as well as my own future children. But as concerned as I was for other people’s children or my children of the future, I realized I wasn’t analyzing my own addiction to technology. How much screen time do I have in a day? What is that doing to my brain? So I pulled together some friends and asked them what their relationship with technology is, whether positive or negative.

Monica: Hmm, I don’t really have any fully formed thoughts on it yet but I only have two social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram. And I would say using those has gotten less and less interesting to me in the past year. I use it mostly for quiet time and to decompress just to see what people are up to. But I don’t follow too many people that aren’t friends so it makes it easy to keep up and not stay on it forever.

Allie: That’s interesting that you primarily follow friends. I guess that’s not a strange concept but it is interesting to think about how many people I follow that I actually don’t know in real life. It’s true that if you are only following a small subset of people and they are people in your primary social network that you woudn’t need to spend that much time on it/ there wouldn’t be that much content to look at throughout the day.

Kaci: I’d say I have a love/hate relationship with technology these days. I never realized how much I was on my phone until Apple decided to inform us of the exact minutes we are on our phone easy day. Thanks, Apple!

For me, I enjoy the nightly scroll through my feed of beautifully decorated homes, cute videos of golden retrievers, and perfectly posed women with outfits I’d never be able to afford. I love the ability to show pictures of my son and the things we enjoy doing together. I love being able to catch small glimpses of all my friend’s and family’s lives in a matter of an hour.

But one day I realized that my siblings and I grew up without ever seeing our parents holding any kind of technological device. Sure, we had the house phone on the kitchen counter and the over-the-shoulder camcorder, but nothing that took their time away from us. I hate to admit it but I am one of those parents that gets lost in the nightly scroll. I try my best to only “social media” after my son goes to bed, but I sadly fail most of the time.

My son doesn’t have much technology. He watches an hour of TV each day but we don’t do video games in our house. Luckily, I’ve found that if you don’t expose your kids to a bunch of devices they don’t have the urge. I’d love for him to grow up like me and my siblings did with little to no technology. I found a disc man at Goodwill for him and he loves listening to rock CD’s on our road trips. He enjoys playing Minecraft on his Grandma’s iPad but other than that I’d say he’s more of a toy kid than a tech kid. Now if only I could more of a device-free mom! :)

Allie: I love the mom perspective as well as Kaci’s own personal perspective. I think ultimately I know I need to cut back on my social media use and really analyze why I feel the need to post when I do. Who am I sharing this picture with? Is it going to bring joy to anyone? Why do I need to show this picture of me and my boyfriend? Is it to show that we’re hanging out together and look how cute we are or is it because I want to look at it later? And if it’s the latter, what’s the point of even posting it then? I might as well keep it on my camera roll and look at it whenever I want. This is going to be an ongoing discussion for me but for now I have taken a few steps towards decreasing my social media and technology use. I set time limits on my social media apps for only an hour a day and before I reach for my laptop or phone I’ve started asking myself why I am doing so. Can I read a book instead? Can I pour into one of my hobbies? Maybe hang out with my housemates? I’d hate to look back on this amazing time in my life and think, “wow I spent a lot of time looking at a screen, and for what?”

So these are some of our opinions on tech use and social media. where do you currently stand? are you implementing any life rules to limit your use or do you feel like you appreciate all of the tech and feel no need to cut back? i’d love to hear!!