How much is too much?

It’s Palmer here!

I want us to chat about a topic that impacts all our lives for better and for worse. It’s one that if you are anything like me and just about every person I know, could use some more intentionality…It’s SCREEN TIME. 📱😅 It’s not just a topic for teens but one for all of us. My wife and I just crossed the 50-day mark of no social media so I thought it was a fitting topic for this week.

As a kid…Yikes! Thank goodness my parents didn’t have the ability to track how much time I spent playing video games, watching TV, and scrolling on social media… It would have been bad. My mom thought what she was aware of was too much but she had no idea. I am not going to say any names but a GOOD number of the kids I’ve met have told me about their screen time and the sneaking that goes on without their parents knowing. If screen time isn’t checked by someone, it expands like a gas to fill all the space/time a kid has.

And why wouldn’t it?!! It’s fun, entertaining, distracting, and somehow constantly feels new even though it’s basically all the same stuff. One of my therapy clients I just started working with told me a story, and the image has made me laugh many times since hearing it.

He told me that he sneaks out of his room to play video games almost every night when his parents go to bed. The other night, his mom happened to come check in on him and when she walked in at 1 AM, there he was playing Fortnite with a jar of Nutella. He had a heaping spoon of it in one hand and a controller in the other. She proceeded to yell something along the lines of “What the ***** are you doing?” He told me that he then stared at her and since he knew he was going to be on lockdown, he proceeded to fill his mouth with Nutella, cleaned the spoon, and took in his last few moments of freedom. Honestly, I’d probably have done the same thing as a teen.

A scarier truth about screen time that is important for parents to know is that every hour beyond the first 60 minutes per day of screen time has a positive correlation with increased anxiety in kids. So I want to give you a few questions to ask your kids as well as a few for you to ponder and journal about as well.

For you to ask your kids:

Lead this conversation with calmness and curiosity and in a lighthearted way:

  1. What do you like about screen time?
  2. What do you feel are the pros and cons of screen time?
  3. Do you ever feel like it’s hard to put down screens? (Share an example of how it can be hard for you; vulnerability from parents can be very powerful with teenagers.)
  4. Do you think it’s important to have balance between screen time and non-screen activities?
  5. How can we help each other stay accountable to having a healthy relationship with screens?
  6. What is one of your favorite non-screen activities we do as a family?

For you to reflect on:

Give yourself space and time to reflect honestly on these and/or talk them through with a friend:

  1. Does your use of screen time set a good example for your kids?
  2. Does it demonstrate your values? How or how not?
  3. What is a way you could improve your relationship with screen time/be more intentional with it?
  4. What is one of your favorite non-screen activities to do by yourself?
  5. What is one of your favorite non-screen activities to do with your family?

Asking these questions with your kid may be a normal thing for you, but in an ever-changing world with kid’s brains that change so quickly it’s good for these to be asked regularly. There’s no perfect science to the relationship we should have with screen time so one person’s answers don’t have to be yours.

Ok enough from me, speaking of screen time I’m about to download 8 hours of movies for my upcoming flight. 😅 My mom and I are actually leaving on Tuesday to go speak at the International Family Therapy Conference in Japan and we can’t wait to share more about that and the things we learn from the wonderful experts that will be there.

Grateful for your commitment to a close and connected family! 🤗 Keep me posted if you do any screen time mindfulness, or have tips for me! 😊 I always need more support in this realm.

author avatar
Palmer Skudneski
Share the Post:

Related Posts