Our children will grow up in a digital age. That means that they are know as “Digital Natives”. They’ve grown up in a world with digital technology, the internet, and social media.
Many of us parents are more like digital immigrants. We didn’t have as much of that as children and we’ve adjusted to new technology as we’ve grown up.
That’s the heart behind this discussion we’re hearing so much about how much “screen time” your child should have.
There is a healthy fear in our society today that in a world of “digital natives” we might lose the art of personal connection.
I know that you can connect online by sending a message or “liking” a post. But the type of connection I’m referring to can only happen face to face.
So, the way we’ve responded as parents is to limit our kid’s screen time. Making sure they only watch TV or play on an iPod for a certain amount of time each day.
That is extremely important and should be encouraged. Trust me, they will get plenty of time in their life to interact with a screen, so limiting it when they’re young can only be a good thing.
But in addition to that I have another suggestion. Instead of just limiting their “screen time”, let’s also increase their “face time”.
Let’s create regular rhythms in our family life when we are intentionally have face to face interactions.
It doesn’t do much good to stop looking at a screen unless we replace that time with looking at each other.
In fact, I believe that if we fought hard for fact time, then the whole screen time thing will take care of itself.
Fighting to make time to eat together as a family around the dinner table, scheduling regular family nights, and valuing family vacations are just a few ways that you can use your energy to create more connection in your family.
From a spiritual perspective, face to face time is priceless.
It’s in these moments where we discuss the things that matter most. Faith based conversations in the home are born from face to face moments.
And faith based conversations in the home are the greatest way to plant the seeds of faith in the heart of your child. When your child asks a questions, shares a fear they’re having, or presents a struggle their facing they are also giving you an opportunity to infuse faith into that conversation.
So yes, let’s limit screen time, but let’s also fight for face time. Let’s teach our little digital natives what it means to truly connect not just with our heads, but with our hearts as well.