How to Tell If Your Family Has a Device Addiction

Taming the Media Monster in the Home – Part 1

My 7 year old came inside the house. He had just attempted asking an adult for help, and the first thing out of his mouth was this…

“I tried to ask them to help me, but they wouldn’t stop looking at their phone, so I left.”

It was a shocking reminder for me as a dad. My seven year old knows when adults are too attached to their devices to give kids the time of day. How many times have I been equally as guilty?

Our children are being raised in the generation of “Just wait a minute, Sweetie,” and “Hold on, I’m almost done, son.”

They’re not surprised by it. They expect it. We’ve trained them to. We’re too busy trying to “connect” and be social with the world around us that we’ve forgotten the world right in front of our eyes – our kids.

And sadly, it’s not just a parent problem. Children are the great imitators. In a society where statistically 60% of kids ages 8-12 have their own devices, the question really becomes, “How are they learning to use them by watching us?”

Has the next generation learned from us that devices are an addition or an addiction? Do they view them as an occasional enjoyment or an ongoing indulgence.

Does your family have a device addiction?

Ask and answer these questions about yourself and your family to find out?

  1. Do I find myself coming home from work and immediately spending time bonding with my phone over bonding with my family?
  2. Am I guilty of talking, texting, or scrolling on my phone during mealtimes with my family?
  3. Do I feel like I can’t leave my device anywhere out of reach for fearing that I’ll miss a “life-changing” text or notification?
  4. This past week, have any of my kids asked me while on my device, “Are you listening to me?” or had to ask me something multiple times before I responded?
  5. Do I find myself dropping everything I’m doing at the sound of a beep or ringtone?
  6. Have I caught myself noticing that I’m too immersed wasting time on my phone only to continue scrolling because of what I’m afraid I’ll miss if I don’t?
  7. Have I found myself texting or scrolling through social feeds while driving with my kids in the car or fighting the urge to check my phone when at a stoplight?

It’s time we take our lives back and stop letting life-less devices control us. The victorious Christian life is not one that is lived with a Bible in one hand and a device in the other. Break Free!

Here are a couple of solutions to try this week:

  1. If Facebook is your main problem, remove your Facebook app from your phone. Require yourself to actually log in online. It will make it more inconvenient, and I guarantee you’ll check it less.
  2. Silence your phone on purpose at certain times throughout the day. Sometimes simply out of respect for others, other times simply out of respect for yourself and your need to be uninterrupted and productive.
  3. Create time blocks in your day that are media free – morning devotion time, meal times, evening family time, etc. Your life will thank you for it.
  4. Learn to detach yourself by intentionally leaving your phone out of reach for periods of time. Your social and outside world will still be waiting for you when you get back.
  5. Wait until your kids go to bed to satisfy your device cravings. You only have so many hours to invest into your family each day. Don’t forfeit your kids’ childhood for a phone or tablet. You’ll wake up one day and realize too late what a mistake you made.
  6. Don’t let a device become a “god”. Don’t be guilty of spending more time ‘worshiping’ your devices than the Lord your God in a given day.

Exodus 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Little eyes are watching us. If we can’t control ourselves, how can we ever expect them to learn to.

If we don’t deal with this epidemic in our own lives, it will be a sin of the parents passed down to the third and fourth generations of our kids.

So, answer the question, “Does your family have a device addiction?”

If so, what are you going to do about it, starting today?

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