Children thrive with healthy boundaries. It is very common to see young children today with some sort of technology in their hands. Establishing limits and boundaries in this area is very important for you to do as parents.
Research shows that children who do not disconnect at night do not sleep as well. Lack of sleep has a negative impact on school performance, physical growth and behavior.
Your children will benefit from placing their cell phones, iPads and iPods on a charger in your room at night…before it gets too late! They may actually read more books, practice the piano or interact with siblings more!
From a spiritual perspective, Scripture says, “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) Hours upon hours of staring at a screen is not healthy for your children. If you do not teach them how to be the master over their technology (by disconnecting) then they will be mastered by it. Consider the habits you are cultivating in your children. Has technology become your babysitter of choice? In the long run, that is a bad choice.
Your children do not “need” to be attached to something with a screen. Try a few days without it. After you break through the initial shock you may find that they cultivate other interests and skills. Be sure this does not come across as punishment. Remember to show in your own life how to disconnect for a season, like when you are eating a family meal or spending time with your children. Show them that the people you are with are more important than the people you are not with. These are great opportunities to teach about respect, honor and value.
Robert Otto, Ph.D.