Ah, managing the beast……
No, I am not talking about my huge dog who is now learning to pull a cart, LOL! I am talking about this wonderful tool, this wonderful place to connect and get information, but that which has the potential to be addicting in a way: our friend the computer! It’s funny, but I don’t really know anyone my age or younger that has an issue managing watching television, but almost everyone I know has a harder time managing the computer.
I asked some questions in the past about computer usage here: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/08/a-vacation-away-from-the-computer/
It is so easy to turn on the computer and get sucked in for hours more than you intended, isn’t it? All those beautiful Waldorf blogs and all those rabbit trails! All those things we MIGHT need for future homeschooling grades that we should be storing in files! And the thing is, when we are on the computer, I think our children can really feel our life forces just being whisked away from them. If we are on the computer at night, we are not meditating, praying, reading, or most importantly, giving our husband the attention he deserves.
So, during these forty days of renewal between Easter and Ascension, how about experimenting with some rules of usage for yourself in relation to the computer?
- You could plan only certain days of the week to be on the computer
- You could plan to only check it at a certain time of the day.
- You could plan to cut back and scale back to a few very essential blogs/yahoo groups plus your email to check daily.
- You could set a timer for when you are on the computer and get off when the timer goes off.
In this forty days of renewal, I would love to hear how all of you are managing your computer time these days.
I think many of us struggle with this on some level. While the computer is a great tool, it can be used for so many things that it’s hard not to let it take over your life. I try to only do computer-related things during the kids’ afternoon Quiet Time, but sometimes I wonder if even that is such a good thing, since it’s not a behaviour they can emulate. This is when I do my bill-paying, updating finances, replying to emails, etc. But I wonder if I should instead be doing something at Quiet Time that the kids can model, like handwork or something. And save my computer time for the evening. I normally do the opposite; computer time in the afternoon and handwork, book reading in the evenings. What are your thoughts on this?
I also find it difficult because I do so many things on the computer. I learn so much from blogs (like yours!), message boards, etc., that I consider it reading time as well… but the more time I spend reading on the computer, the less time I spend reading actual books. Is this a bad thing? I also rely heavily on the internet for things like recipes, etc., so it seems like I’m always jumping on for something.
My husband and I also recently both got iPhones, which seems to add a whole other level of complexity to the issue. I use my iPhone as my PDA, so I store everything on there; my to-do lists, cleaning routines, grocery list, address book, you name it. So I seem to be referring to it constantly. Not to mention I can now browse the internet from anywhere, so there is no longer that clear distinction between sitting at the computer and not sitting at the computer. For instance, I can read blogs while laying down with the baby, or while sitting in the car (with my husband driving). So it’s even harder now to draw that line.
I look forward to hearing how others manage their computer time.
Hi Alissa, I think one thing I would strongly consider is doing your handwork during your the Quiet Time of your children, and leave the computer and reading for after they are asleep. Also, trying to plan things out so you have your recipe there, and to limit how much time we are checking a screen. I think ultimately what we want small children to see is that knowledge comes from people first, and as they grow older, of course they realize knowledge comes from books and the computer and such..but that people create these ideas….
Does that resonate at all?
I’m a bit off topic but not too far! I love your posts but I’d like to take it slower. It’s true, I can go back and read them later and over and over. But I feel your rythm sometimes is too fast for me. I open your blog and find a new thought when I still haven’t assimilated the prevoius one. Don’t know if I’m succeeding in explaining.
Maybe it’s only because English is not my mother language!
Yes, I write a lot…it is hard for me to slow down…My husband and I have talked about trying to slow the pace down so folks can digest things in the past. I am just bad at it! 🙂
Thanks for your input Federica!
This is such an important topic! I have so many questions and concerns regarding computer time, and I appreciate your suggestions.
I am wondering how I might send you a question via a personal email. I have looked around your site to find your email address, but I am unable to locate it.
Thank you, Zane
First comment here but have been reading for a while. I truly am so grateful for this blog and how it has helped me re-envision my two small children. Also, I love this idea of the forty days of Easter. My lent was not spent the way I typically do (with lots of time for prayer and mediation). Instead it was very busy and ordinary. It feels like I missed it. So this gives me another chance!
My comment is about our kids seeing computer/phone usage everywhere all the time and how to explain that. Cousins no longer play with my kids at holidays, they play Wii or are on their iphones, etc. I went to a play area at a shopping plaza today and every single parent was on their phones texting/talking and some even had their laptops there. Yes, I’d love to catch up with tasks instead of watching my kids and 20 others run through tunnels. But I would also miss out on the eye contact and smiles I can offer when my daughter knows I am watching her go down the big slide. It just makes me wonder what they are taking in. I limit my computer time to evenings and afternoon quiet time (when I feel I really need to connect to the ‘world’) and I still don’t know how to text, but they are SO aware of this ever-present technology it’s hard to know if my little ‘limits’ are making a difference. I hope so.
I think the problem with the computer, is just like many vices, some of us get more sucked in than others.
Even though I live a rich life generally I still feel extremely addicted to the computer in a way that is not quite right. It is very difficult for me to find a balance and I feel very all or nothing about it.
I am challenging myself to not turn it on some days, and there are full days we are away from home and I don’t miss it. I think eventually our lives will be so busy there will not be time to be at the computer, but when we are all home it is a definite trap for me.
Of course it is a great resource, and learning tool also and it’s a matter of being ever mindful of what things are useful and which are not.
What a good post. I struggle with this, getting sucked in too easily, then find the time has disappeared. I am guilty of bringing the computer in the same room with them, helping them with their activity, but knowing my focus is really on the computer. “Just one second” I seem to always be saying. Funny, on the evenings I don’t go to the computer I feel so much better about my productiveness, but then the following evening I need to check in on what I’ve missed. What did I do with all my time before I discovered blogs????
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