Recently over lunch, I asked you to tell me what you enjoy most to do with your family members. You each had a specific activity for each of your parents (ie going to a specific restaurant, working with animals). Both of you said your favorite activity with Pop is fishing; one of you likes to bike with me, the other likes to garden and make waffles at our house. It was interesting neither one of you mentioned the use of an electronic device in your answers.
Lately, I have been doing much reading about technology devices and took a class about how various technology can be helpful tools. Yet phones, ipads, computers, and X-box apps can get in the way of family time and the activities which bring us closer together. I have had numerous conversations with other teachers, parents, grandparents and members of our church family about the concerns adults have with their own addiction to technology plus their struggles to set boundaries for the young people in their lives.
It is because I love you so dearly, I am taking all this research to heart. Therefore, I am making a pledge to do a better job as your Mimi to protect you from the harms of technology while hopefully assisting you in finding a healthy balance when using such devices. I will continue to make mistakes along the way in trying to strike a balance, but here is my visual plan (using the acronym from the class I took called START) to guide me.
S- Starting with me, I will model appropriate tech use in your presence. The best thing I can do is to put my devices away and give you my total attention.
T- Tables and bedrooms are locations where I will set the example to have my tech devices off. This will allow our family to engage in mealtime talks and focus us on the fun times of reading together at bedtime. It is my desire to set the example for other adults at the table to do the same.
A- Accountability to limit my screen time whenever you are present and to only be on healthy apps will be my goals. I want to assure your parents I will be responsible by promising to never text and drive. For the thought of a distraction causing you any harm puts a knot in my stomach. I want you to partner with me to hold me responsible for these commitments. You can do so with your gentle reminders of my desires to spend time with you.
R- Ride. Practice. Drive. This is how you learn to drive a car. In the same way, I will gradually release screen privileges to help you become the safest drivers you can be. The amount of time I allow you to view TV programs, the use of our computer or cell phones to engage in online activities will not be popular with you. I will do it out of a desire to spend more time with you one on one. When your parents introduce you to phone privileges, I promise to support their set boundaries and not indulge you just because you are my grandchildren.
T– Time spent with me will include more games, stories, crafts, cooking, gardening, biking, and nature walks than ever before.
Along the way you will most probably resist my limitations and protest my actions. Just know I have your best interests at heart now and always. This is my commitment to you; I vow to use our time together making lasting connections and special memories.
All my love,