It’s no secret: Digital overload has proven to act like cocaine for kids and adults… literally and physically. We talked about this crumbling-brain phenomenon on my weekly Wednesday night segment on CBS Los Angeles, thanks to a wake-up call from the sweet family movie Storks (in theaters September 23, 2016) and a fabulous on-camera cameo from my older daughter LadyP:
For all the dirty details, more scientific backup and general tips for setting your own limits, check out what I wrote on CBSLA’s site here — which includes my most favorite family challenge in the world called #DeviceFreeDinner by Common Sense Media. (DO IT!)
As for my own happenings here at Chez FabMom? Here are the fab four rules I stick to when I’m with my kids:
- No devices at dinner… including meals at restaurants!
- No devices after 6pm. (TV included)
- No devices while waiting in line at grocery stores, the car wash, the DMV or anything of the like.
- No devices for more than 1 hour at a time.
Do we break these rules sometimes? Yes. (Hello, movies are more than 1 hour in length… and we love our movie nights…) Do I leave the TV on longer if I’m pressed for a deadline with no sitter and I have no choice? Of course. (As I sit at my computer in the kitchen and randomly yell “What is Dora doing now?” at my girls in the living room in an effort to break up any kind of impending digital zone-out as my girls watch…) Do I respond and followup on my own emails after 6pm? Duh. (The FabMom would fail and crumble and die if this didn’t happen…) My point? All we can do as parents is to be extremely conscious and stay on our own a$$es about how much digital media we’re consuming as families to the point that it interferes with the relationships we have with our kids.
If and when you’re at your computer working at home, and your child comes up to you to show you that they dressed themselves today (like what literally JUST happened now, as I’m writing this!) MAKE SURE YOU STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND LOOK AT THEM AND RESPOND IMMEDIATELY. (Yes, I did.)
Don’t throw the tablet on the table at restaurants as a go-to for everyone to stay entertained… TALK INSTEAD, even if you’re looking at the ceiling and counting the number of swirls going up the wall at Cheesecake Factory (yes, we do this).
Be a nagging wife and tell your husband to get off his phone during dinner or else… (yes, he does this to me too).
Do my kids scream and complain and get aggressive when I say ‘no’ to turning on the TV the second everyone wakes up these days? You bet I get screamed at! What do I say to them? “Too much screen time will make your smart brains turn black and crumbly… do you want your smart brain to turn black and crumbly?!?” They don’t. (This has been working lately.)
Be vigilant. Be present. Break the rules when you absolutely need to, but be conscious of when you break them in an effort to get back on track fast. Say no to digital heroin and cocained-out, crumbling brains… this means us too, parents. Nobody ever said parenting is easy.
Since February 17, 2016, you can now catch “The FAB Mom on 2” every Wednesday night at 5pm and Friday mornings at 6:30am on CBS Los Angeles’ Channel 2! Like CBSLA on Facebook, Like The FAB Mom’s *NEW* Facebook Page and comment, ask, request and shout what YOU want us to talk about. And share, share, share what you like on Twitter & Facebook using #CBSLA … just like your mama taught ya.