As parents, we are concerned about the amount of time our kids are glued to electronic devices. Most parents share that concern. So we limit their “screen time” on computers, TV’s, tablets, and cell phones… or at least we try. And we feel like we are better parents for trying.
It turns out, though, that parents may need to start heeding their own advice better. According to a new study, most adults have more than 9 hours of screen time in their day!
Now, if that number seems high to you, you aren’t alone. Many participants and researchers were surprised by it. Is it possible that we have become so addicted to our screens that we don’t notice our hypocrisy? Of course the parents said, “but that includes my work time!” Actually, it doesn’t. For most adults, only about 1.5 hours of that screen time was at work.
That means that roughly 7 ½ hours were attributed to screen time on a TV, a cell phone, a tablet, etc. And yet, 80% of parents also thought they were being good role models of screen time. Perhaps it is time to reconsider.
Do you bring your cell phone to the dinner table? If the phone buzzes during family time, do you instantly check it anyway? How often do you feel the need to check your Facebook, Twitter, E-Mails, etc? (And, yes, I realize the irony that this article is posted on a screen!)
In the Bible, Jesus warned the people to “do and observe” all that the Pharisees had told them to do, as people in authority. But we should not do “according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them” (Matthew 23:3). Ouch. The Pharisees were in the position of authority like parents are in their houses today.
And it is right and good that kids should heed their parents’ instructions. But while they are doing what we say, they are observing what we do. And they will probably pick up more intently on our actions. Of course, this isn’t just for screen time.
Do I say I love God, but spend all my time and energy on worldly things? Do I say I love my fellow man but forget to help others? Do I dole out advice on how to live and never live it myself? Our kids are watching.
Hmmm. The preacher just went from preaching to meddling…so I’m turning off my screen! Time to go see what my kids are watching…