Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Unplugging Social Media: A Guide to Family Preservation

This is a guest post by blogger Lindsey Andrews.

We are a family of four, busy social-media-consumed humans living together under one roof. Our children, adopted from Ethiopia in 2010 are currently 11 and 7. For as much as we have tried to keep screen time at bay, it is truly becoming one of the biggest issues in our parenting struggle. Whether it is games, interactions with friends online or simply the joy of taking pictures on a device, our kids are obsessed.

OK, that is not entirely true. While I would like to make this issue only about the kids, hubs and I both have the social media bug too. We sleep near our phones, and they have almost become an extension of our hands. Whether it is at dinner, driving or simply sitting for five minutes, the urge to check every and all of our social media accounts is prevalent and felt.

A few months ago, we decided we needed some ground rules. An appropriate separation from our faces staring at a screen time. The issue was how to implement this change, and then the question became could we be strong enough to see it through? Would we crack under the pressure and just go back to having our heads bowed in reverence to the almighty phone?

Our rules were simple:

  1. No technology during dinner. No exceptions.
  2. One night per week was family night and from after school to bedtime, there is no use of technology whatsoever. These nights are reserved for dinner, clean up, board games or some other sort of family activity like miniature golf or bowling.

I also came up with a rule for only myself: turning off all of the notification signals on my cell phone and tablet. The only time these two devices would ding would be for my work email or a text message. We set a goal to try this new system out for three months.

Five months later and we have loved our changes so much, they are here to stay. I even kept all of the notifications silent on my phone except for work email and text messages. I can tell you this has revolutionized my life. Not only have I left off the notifications on my devices, I feel as though I have a piece of my own attention span back. Without the constant buzz and dinging of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and every other social media account demanding my attention, I can focus longer on writing, reading, journaling and giving face-to-face attention to conversations happening in front of me.

There is a beautiful sigh of release felt throughout our house. This “break” has become a permanent piece of our routine. Technology breaks are important and removing yourself and your family altogether are warranted. There are also smaller, more concise ways we can take back our attention and re­focus ourselves every single day.

How do you and yours battle against the screen? Would love to hear your ideas!

Lindsey Andrews is a wild-haired, barefoot bohemian trapped in the corporate world. As a paycheck-earning mom, she believes all women who raise kids “work.” She is tolerated by her two kids and husband but adored by a French Bulldog named Walter. Living in Oklahoma, she believes in gardening, embarrassing your kids and holding fast to the sweet crumbs of life. She writes to balance the insanity of practicing law and justifying drinking copious amounts of coffee. She is the author of I Walk for Water, inviting children to embark on a journey into the world’s water crisis. You can find her at