Adults aren’t maintaining a balance in our lives, how can we expect kids to figure it out?
The iPhone tells you how much time you’ve spent online each week, and the numbers are always a shock. It’s embarrassing to see how much time I’m wasting scrolling through nonsense. While I’m aware of what I’m doing, I choose to do it anyway. Being allowed to make poor decisions is part of being an adult.
But what are we modeling for our kids? When we are staring at a screen, but saying “yeah, ok” to them, we’re teaching them that they are not a priority, and we are not living in the moment. We don’t just stare out the car window anymore. We aren’t having deep thoughts or letting our minds wander. Why bother with that stuff when there’s YouTube videos to watch?
Two educational resources I’ve been using have thankfully addressed this issue. Common Sense has a lesson about finding balance online and offline. It lets the kids look at their day, and all the online and offline things they do and measure them against each other. It’s a powerful lesson. Another resource that’s tackling this issue is EVERFI. Their free module called Ignition empowers students to be safe and healthy online.
So practice what you preach. If you don’t want your kids online constantly, you shouldn’t be either. Help them see what other things they could be doing, like interacting with their friends in person. Nothing can replace the face-to-face communication skills they need to develop.
So I know you’re reading this online. Put your phone in you pocket and go talk to someone in person. It will do you both some good.