Friday, June 14 2024 - 10:54 AM
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Too Much Screen Time

When I was almost 40 and had been married for nearly 10 years, with three preschoolers and a teenager, it dawned on me that I was still incredibly selfish.

I realized that I often made decisions that were “all about me” rather than choices focused on my family’s well-being. I felt like a 23-year-old trapped in a body that was… well… clearly not 23 anymore.

You’ll often hear this mantra in women’s and mother’s groups: Take time for yourself. I’m always the first to say a hearty, “Amen!” But I’m pretty sure that mantra is meant for women who are so focused on their families that they tend to neglect their own personal life. And if that is you, then, by all means, you need to get away and recharge. A woman with a dead battery isn’t much good to her family.

But, honestly? That’s not me. I have more than my fair share of “me time.”

When it happens, how does my selfishness play itself out in our family? I could give several examples, but most frequently, it comes down to one thing: computer screen time.

Managing Screen Time

I’m checking e-mail or our bank account or updating my status on Facebook, or doing something essential like playing an online word game with another internet friend in the mornings. Doing that means breakfast is often later than I planned, or the dishes get ignored, or we are late to get out the door for our activities.

When I’m already running low on energy and tolerance in the afternoons, the selfishness really rears its ugly head. We have quiet time after lunch, and during that time, I’m often working on (you guessed it!) the computer. I really am working, but dragging myself away from “my time” is like pulling teeth when the kids’ time is up. I shove in a DVD and say BE QUIET and go back to my own thing. Lovely, right?

Now, computers are not inherently evil, and I believe using a DVD as a tool in parenting is fine to do at times. But both can become inappropriate. And only you know when that moment comes.

Setting Priorities

The Bible doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not be on the computer for more than one hour per day.” But when Jesus came to earth, he told us that the laws, the ways he wanted us to live, would now be written on our hearts. That means I have an even greater responsibility to figure out what is right and wrong than people living before Christ, who were required to keep the list of laws given them in the first books of the Bible. God asks that I do more than follow a checklist. He wants me to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And I’m pretty sure the word for me is often, “Stand up, Joelle.”

When the “me time” needs to be put on hold until after bedtime or tomorrow, I need to stand up. Listen to the tug on my heart and move on with healthy choices for myself and my family.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like, What wakes Me Up | Should Adults Have Screen Time Limits?

Joelle Yamada writes from the Pacific Southwest.

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About Joelle Yamada

Joelle Yamada

write from the Pacific Southwest.

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