Cold Turkey on the Tech...
I take an emotional beating every time I post a controversial topic.
I practically put myself on the frontline knowing that I could potentially get hurt, risk feeling isolated (especially if I’ve chosen the not-so-popular side of the discussion), risk feeling vulnerable, emotional, uncertain...
So why do I do it? Why do I keep asking such difficult questions?
Because I want to grow! I want to learn from others, hear their praises and their concerns, their successes and their failures.
So I strongly encourage each and everyone of you to participate in these discussions that appear on my pages. Your feedback is often more valuable than the questioned posed! For myself and the weary mom scrolling through the comment section looking for affirmation and answers.
Which brings me to our most recent discussion around #ScreenTime.
Sorry about the waffle above (not the food kind but rather the she-needs-to-move-on-now kind) but I just want you guys to remember that your feedback in the comment section below is SO valuable!
O.K... Here we go… Back to the reason you’re all here… We went cold turkey, on the tech! (testament to my all or nothing character).
48 hours with
NO cell phone!
Wait, hold up a second, I think you need some back-story on our current home setup to truly understand how DRASTIC this transition was...
How long does Bean usually use the phone/TV for...
TV not so much, she looses interest within 10-15 minutes but the PHONE!
Oh that darn phone… (*scrunches entire face)
This is so embarrassing,
can you tell I’m procrastinating?
I should probably just rip this off like a plaster, get the harsh judgment over and done with...
“JUST TELL US CATH!!!”
….2-3 hours collectively, some days… no, no, actually most days. (*hand covers face in embarrassment)
Just to put that into perspective for you,
That’s 1095 hours in a year, just over 45 days.
Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot to you but just consider how fast these little people grow... How quickly they change in a month.
Do you now understand why I find these accumulative 45 days so scary?
Guys, please understand that this is actually really hard for me to write and admit to, so before you jump to any conclusions read the entire post.
We don’t have grandparents close by... or aunties, or sisters, or brothers. We’re pretty much on our own. My husband works for himself, all day everyday, weekends and cut off times don’t apply here.
Me? I try to do my own thing with Following The Bean and Bean’s Boutique - fulfilling the desire to have something of my own but, mom/wife/head-of-operations-in-pretty-much-everything are other roles I have to work at and maintain simultaneously.
So TV’s... Cell phones...
They’re like new age baby sitters - a convenient way to entertain/educate the kids whilst mommy makes dinner, tidies up, replies to emails, attends meetings, writes this post and so on...
The problem I think, which has become clearer to me through this tech detox, is simply that it’s a quick fix.
Quick fix means quick results, which more often than not means we abuse it because quite frankly, how often in life do you come across quick fixes that actually work? How’s that get skinny in 2 weeks weight loss program going for you??? OK that was a crap comparison but you get what I’m trying to say…
I hate to say this but resorting to phones and TV’s is just lazy parenting, or more kindly put, convenient parenting. Don’t freak out, I’m just as guilty as you!
The good news is, it’s not entirely your fault!
As a society we have honestly just become too busy, so any form of relief from the buzz (i.e. pacifying unsettled children) we latch onto it like leaches. So it’s a completely normal reaction to gravitate toward the I-need-to-keep-the-kids-busy-without-me-actually-being-there magic of technology.
HOWEVER it does come with its disadvantages! The only reason I know this is because I got to experience the ADVANTAGES from the 48-hour tech detox we did over the weekend!
Here are 3 awesome things I noticed whilst #Unplugged
1. Less moody. You know those tantrums I always complain about? Gone. She moaned a little both days at night but that was because she was actually tired. Totally normal reaction, the possessed child tantrums every tech filled day - not so much!
2. Easier to put to sleep. I fight with Bean EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Like... throw ourselves against the cupboard doors when I simply mention the words “doo-doo time”. So yeah, on both unplugged nights she did some yoga poses (well, what looked like yoga poses), read two books and passed out. Pain-free for both of us.
3. I was less anxious and felt connected. I carry major mom guilt with regards to this topic (screen time) because I’m SO guilty of it! But like I said on Instagram earlier on today, I’m not afraid of admitting my faults and actively working on improving them! These two
unplugged days were so wonderful, watching my child build puzzles, paint, colour, and stick, not a techie device insight.
I felt present... connected, in a way I haven’t felt in awhile.
So.. will we be eradicating technology in our home for life?
There are still days (like right now) where an episode of Barney or Pepper Pig comes in handy and I have found some really cool educational apps which I will share later on in another post.
The one thing that I'm battling to find benefits for is Youtube! (Bare in mind Bean is 2 1/2)
Here are two reasons why I think Youtube sucks... (For Bean's Age group anyway)
1. They have access to anything. Literally, Bean clicks on whatever link pops up! She thinks she's found an awesome new episode of Peppa Pig only to be met with a horrible rendition that's not even in english or any recognisable language for that matter of Peppa and George making poohs. Seriously these kinds of programs exist!
2. The programs are continuous so there’s no real start and/or finish. It’s hard to say (or understand in their defence) “you can only watch one program”. The episodes roll on endlessly as long as someone is watching. I quite like DVDs in this case (archaic technology, I know🤣) but Barney, Peppa Pig, Paw patrol Dvd's (and so on) are grouped in episodes, which I think are easier to control in terms of time limits, especially if you're not physically watching with them. There's no “what’s coming up next” or “next video starts in blah blah blah seconds”. That's my two cents opinion anyway.
So what’s my kick-start guide to minimizing screen time?
1. Be present. Carve out time with your kids. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the whirlwind of life that we actually forget to make time for them. Our mobile devices are the greatest time stealers! Honour that hour and a half you’ve set aside for them, make it habit.
2. Play with your kids more. By play I mean on your hands and knees, get down to their level. Listen to them with your eyes, so often I brush Bean aside whilst she's trying to talk to me when I should actually stop and look at her.
Guys, soak in everything they have to say.
3. Sleep. Yes, late night Netflix is fun but you won’t have the patience or energy tomorrow to give your child the love and attention he/she deserves.
4. Most importantly... Switch the TV off and put your phone away. If your kids are not fully engrossed in an activity I truly believe that’s your cue to offer your undivided attention.
So that's my advice guys, I'm not saying I have all the solutions or that my way is the right way but I always say perspective is better than ignorance!
Feel free to share your experience/advice/views bellow
Looking forward to your feedback!
All my love Mama Cath
Following the Bean is a two-part team consisting of 1 x superhero Mom and 1 x model-extraordinaire Bean. Mom (aka Catherine Basson), a professional photographer by day and Bean-blogger by night has 3 years of fashion-knowledge sneakily tucked under her belt while Bean (aka Rebecca Aaliyah Alexander Basson) is a part time baby and full time model.