If your kids’ obsession with screens — phones, tablets, games consoles, etc. — is leaving you at your wit’s end, here are two things you should know. First of all, you’re not the only one. A recent survey from Mashable and What to Expect found that parents feel guilty about screen time even when they’re confident that they’ve followed the official guidelines about what’s appropriate.
Second of all, there are things you can do to switch up the screen time status quo. Take mom Molly DeFrank, for example. She recently shared a picture on her blog of her kids lined up in bed, each one of them engrossed in a book. And here’s the thing: It wasn’t staged.
DeFrank revealed that she and her husband eliminated all screen time for their kids because they “were acting like demogorgons.” Initially, they had been permitted an hour of screen time a day, but the limit had proven insufficient to completely cut out the “grumpiness, fighting and whining.”
“So we pulled the plug, literally,” she wrote. “They protested for a hot minute and then we all moved on. I could not believe how easy it was. Seriously, it was like I had my kids back.”
DeFrank acknowledged that “technology can be useful in its right place,” but decided that, in her family’s case, going cold turkey was the only option. And it worked wonders.
“A few Saturdays into our screen detox, my kids woke up one by one and saw my husband and I reading in bed,” DeFrank wrote. “They grabbed their own books and joined us. At restaurants they bring a stack of books instead of propped ipads. My daughter has grown five reading levels in seven months.”
DeFrank says that although the response to her now-viral post has been mostly positive, she’s had a few negative responses.
“It seems like the message is resonating with parents,” she told Parents. “I think a lot of moms and dads find themselves in the same boat. A few people have pushed back. Their main point is that kids need to keep up with technology. While I agree that kids can benefit from technology, I think that mindless consumption of video games is not the same thing as education. I think if we are honest, kids are wasting time more than they are learning.”
Food for thought, right?