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Sunday, February 19, 2012

#1 Lesson from the Computer Fast: Setting Limits

The world will not implode without 24/7 access to the constant stream of information we call the worldwide web.

Whitney Houston died and I still found out about it.

The weather report was wrong anyway. They said snow, and we had clear skies.

Nothing urgent came through my inbox.

I lost nothing, but I gained a lot of insight. And time.

It’s amazing how much time can be frittered away in from of a computer screen with little to show for it.

Oh, I know, I make important connections when I read all those excellent blogs posts and chat away on FB. A mama who spends most of her days surrounded by 4 kiddos under 12 can use some adult conversation.

But, and this is a big but, there are limits.

I could very easily spend the entire day reading edifying articles on the web, but it wouldn’t get my kids fed or educated. There’s simply too much. One post sparks an idea, which leads to some research and then writing an article on a totally different idea born from that…and on it goes.

If I were a single person, or even married but with no kids, or even married with kids, but the kids were in school and I was free to spend my time freelancing my ideas and might actually be able to earn some money at it…maybe then it would make sense.

But that’s not who I am.

Then there’s the simple truth that using the computer changes my brain. You see, I can deal with eating just one potato chip, but reading just one thing on the internet?

Can’t. Do. It.

My OCD contributes to that. I have compulsions. Not hand-washing compulsions. But a desire for information. Ideas. Solutions. I get stuck. And those clickable links keep me stuck.

As much as I wanted the kids to cut back on their computer and video time this past week, I really really needed a break from it myself and it was a positive experience for all of us.

Peter only asked me if it had been 7 days yet once every single day.

We are working on creating specific limits regards our computer/video game/video use.

Ideas that are floating around:

  • limiting computer/video games to weekends (or non-school days) only, with a 1/2 hour limit per gaming child
  • 1/2 hour per weekday computer limit for me, with a longer period on weekends so I can get my school planning and blogging done (excluding school activities done on the computer)
  • having one or two family movie nights and limiting movie watching to those times or possibly only on the weekend

We’ve always had limits, but they’ve been pretty flexible, and the kids were pretty good at wheedling me into giving in (because I really am a pushover).

What do you think? What kind of limits do you impose on electronics use in your own home? Or do you?

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