Going media free has been the best step we have taken to simplify our lives. Because now WE are in control of media, instead of media being in control of us. Here are just some of the benefits I have noticed.
More Time to Do Important Things
- piano practice
- family time
In January T2 was getting depressed and sad. I was so worried and brought him to our beloved chiropractor, who quickly determined he was sleep deprived. She said we needed to move his bedtime to 8 PM, instead of the 9-9:30 one he currently had.
That would have been a huge challenge if we were still watching a TV show at night. Because we had free time at night it was fairly easy to make that transition to an earlier bedtime. We didn’t have to cut anything out. I had my happy T2 back again after less then a week or earlier bedtimes. He was just tired.
I was most worried about giving up the afternoon show. I thought they needed that downtime. Well a snack at the kitchen table and a chat with mom is better than a TV show. Yes, this felt like a “sacrifice” at first. But now it is one of my favorite parts of the day.
Guess what, as I learned more I discovered when it looks like kids are relaxing in front of the TV, they are actually in a state of brain overwhelm. They are zoned out to help protect themselves from the onslaught of oncoming information. It is actually not relaxing for them. You may see results of this after you turn the TV off, many kids go a little bonkers, they are trying to assimilate all their brain has been through.
Here are two links with some more information.
I love that food is no longer connected with the TV. Before we were media free, the boys would come home, grab a snack and sit in front of the TV every afternoon. There is nothing good about that! Now they eat a snack in the kitchen as we talk. A much healthier connection.
Food = watching TV, “relaxing” VS Food = connecting with family
Learning to Prioritize
T2 will still play games on the computer, but with his limited time on the weekend he researches and does useful stuff first.
If he thinks of things he wants to do during the week, he writes it down and saves it for the weekend. He has a blog and writes for that. He researches stuff he wants to make, like duct tape wallets, etc. So he spends a lot less time on games and more learning.
T2 would sometimes get headaches with too much computer, so those have disappeared. 2 weeks ago there was a day that T2 spent a few hours on media, I wasn’t home and he just watched lots of TV. He ended up getting a big headache, the first one in a long time. I asked him if he knew why he got the headache. “Too much media mom, ugh!”
The boys also spend more time outside playing and being active inside instead of vegging in front of a screen. Definitely healthier
I have seen the biggest change in behavior with T3. T3 has been exposed to video games since he stopped napping around 2. He would get hyped up with the Wii on and it brought him to this place that wasn’t pretty, even if he was just watching.
Now the Wii is on maybe 1 -2 hours a week and usually when he is in bed or at a friends, he isn’t getting that negative experience. So his behavior is better.
Also since he knows we are media free, he doesn’t hound me to watch, “Just one more show!”
Creative and Balanced Kids
This is the best benefit. My kids are not wasting hours a day on mindless media, or even “educational” media. They learn so much more by playing and building and doing things in real life.
My kids are not obsessed with the latest fads. They learn about them only via friends. Without commercials to tempt them, they are savers much more than buyers.
My boys also have very entrepreneurial spirits. This summer they bought a sewing machine and are making things to sell. If they were on the computer or playing video games, they wouldn’t have the time or drive to do this.
Less Addictions Now Hopefully Equals Less Addictions Later
A recent study has shown that people are actually addicted to media. They have physical and psychological withdrawls from it.
If we feed into this and allow our families to embrace this addiction, what kind of future will your family have?
My older boys were not exposed to video games until they were 8 and 10. I think the younger children are exposed to video games the more easily they get addicted to them. Their brains are forming so much during the first 5 years. If they get addicted to the constant changes and actions of video games, it is hard to overcome that need for non-stop stimulation.
In our society there is so much addiction to so many things (drugs, alcohol, sex) and I can see how that cycle is starting with media in our children. And it is starting younger and younger.
What benefits have you seen by reducing media use?
I would love for you to share any benefits you can think to add to this list!
Reducing Media Usage for Kids Series
This series was inspired by my 13 year old. He said I need to tell people about this, after seeing the benefits in his quality of life over the last few months as we reduced our media usage.
- More Boys = More TV or How we got to become media addicts.
- Our Media Rhythm Before
- Transitioning to Media Free*
- Taking the Final Step – No more computer for T1
- Benefits of Being Media Free*
- Mostly Media Free in the Summer – coming tomorrow
- Easy Tips to Help You Reduce Media Usage – coming soon!