Screen Time Rules for Adults
Ugh. Screen time. It is such a battle! I truly don’t think it matters how old you are. If you have a smartphone/tablet/computer you have to set boundaries and it is hard. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what rules to have set around my kids’ screen time use. Last summer, I landed on the perfect list of “rules” for the boys to follow. Basically, they had to complete a list of activities before they got an hour of screen time on their tablets. It worked so well and helped reduce arguments over when they were allowed to use their tablets and for how long. I fully plan to use this strategy this coming summer as well! I used to think setting boundaries for my children would be the hardest, but it turns out that setting boundaries for myself is far more difficult.
I’ve been wanting to rack down on my screen time habits. The screen time tracker available on iPhones now is so helpful, but can be easy to ignore. So the first thing I’ve done, thanks to my dear friend Mary, is set up an accountability partner. Mary and I send screenshots of our screen time to each other every day. Not only does it keep me accountable, but it helps me stay on track and not ignore the numbers. So far, I’ve pretty consistently shaved off about an hour of time a day.
Now, the next thing I’ve done is both complicated and simple. The idea is that I have a list of things I have to do before I sit down and mindlessly scroll. These are not drastically different from the rules I set for my kids. I mean, when you think about it, a lot of the same rules we set for children apply to us as adults! Sometimes I think we try to reinvent the wheel when it works just fine the way it is, regardless of age.
So here are some rules I’m trying out for myself, based on what I did with my boys last summer:
I can only have screen time if I’ve done the following:
completed the most important things on my to-do list
move my body
draw or do something else that is creative
rest my eyes/nap
Yep. Those are the rules and I’m definitely not kidding.
To clarify, when I have important work going on, I’ll always include that in my list of “most important” items on my to-do list and that will often include spending time on my phone. But the mindless scrolling or posting on social? Not happening until the above things have been checked off.
How do you hold yourself accountable to reasonable screen time use?