A screen free day!

We have a lot of technology in our house. Now as a disclaimer, I should let you know that we own an electronics shop and therefore get our technology at wholesale prices and it's handy to know about technology so we can sell it well in the shop. Let's have a quick look at what we have (I'm scared...):

  • One 50" plasma TV upstairs in the loungeroom
  • One 64cm CRT TV downstairs in the rumpus
  • Playstation 3 upstairs (with Play TV to record TV shows) which doubles as our Blu-Ray DVD player
  • Wii (usually upstairs)
  • Playstation 2 downstairs
  • 3DS
  • DSi
  • DSlite
  • iPad
  • two iPhone 4's
  • iPod Touch
  • two desktop PC's (one for hubby, one that doesn't really work anymore)
  • laptop (mine!)
  • netbook (Video Boy's)
  • plus assorted digital cameras, video printers, mp3 players, hard drives with videos on them, amplifier, and enough assorted cables to open an electronics store!

Now while I've been trying to embrace a more "unschool" approach to our learning, I wouldn't go so far to say that we gone completely radical unschool. While I am trying to say "yes" more often, my hubby is still probably more toward the authoritative end of the parenting spectrum. The amount of time Video Boy spends playing video games and watching YouTube videos about video games bothers him.

I talked to Video Boy about limits. He agreed that he often lost track of time and found it hard to stop playing/watching. I mentioned Computer Time that a fellow blogger had recommended. He said he would like that and actually nagged me to set it up. So, now he has a set time he can go on, a limited time in one sitting, a set time to finish up - he likes knowing in advance what the boundaries are.

Except hubby changed the boundaries! Yesterday after not seeing Video Boy all morning, he found him under his covers with the netbook. He wasn't happy - 11am, no breakfast, not dressed, no teeth cleaned. All hell broke loose - and much temper-losing from hubby and tears from Video Boy ensued. A "screen-free day" was declared by hubby! (now - personally - I don't care what time VB gets up or if he wants to spend the day in his jammies - especially during holidays. But it bugs the crap out of hubby).

And so - Screen Free Day it was!

A game of Zeuss on the Loose! 

Constructing and demonstrating Marble Run

Learning and playing Go

Lots of piano practice for Wombat Girl
Playing PDQ

Playing with cardboard boxes and (long forgotten) kitchen equipment

Getting outside on the Zoingo Boingos and bikes
For a day that started out tense and tearful, we all agreed it was a pretty fun day and that maybe we should plan a few more "screen free days", just to balance things out a bit more :-)


  1. Totally with your hubby on this one. We're the other way around. It's my husband that gets the car racing games and other screen temptations for our boy. We also use a screen-time schedule. But, given his interest in computers, it will probably become much more flexible as he gets older.

    Looks like you had a fun and colorful day!

  2. Ingi
    Really encouraging you here. Actually I wrote about our exp recently
    and it must be an issue for many as it continues to be one of my biggest hit.
    When off the screen (and sometimes it takes a few days of strict rules) creativity goes up. boys particularly are prone to be addicted. with young adults and teens I am now seriously realising how important habits are, how I should have been stricter in forming habits. Still I haven't given up yet.
    PS After years of having your attitude towards rising time etc I have now 'gone to the other side' lol I see the importance of forming a regular bed and rising time, once again habits. The habits my children will be taking with them into their adult lives. Just where my thought are these days.
    Once again encouraging you, it does make a difference. I'm looking at installing a techno Sabbath (read about it the other day)

  3. Screen free days are lovely, especially the planned ones :)

    Although...the kids do moderate their use over time. But that's a long time frame, months if not years, too long for comfort much of the time.

    Ds just uses a kitchen timer and I explain limits to him in terms of OH&S. It was helpful that the TV show Good Games backed me up on this and explained why you need to take breaks from screens. 'Cos they are the authorities :)

  4. Thank you for your comments and experiences - it seems I'm not the only one grappling with these issues. The computer seems to suck such a huge amount of time (and my son isn't the only one guilty of this!).

    I know one of the premises of radical unschooling is no limits - but the computer time thing is the one I have the most trouble with.

    I know we can do the strict bedtimes/wake up times when we have to - because we did it for 6 years of schooling (and last year especially with commuting an hour each way to school).

    No easy answers - but the upshot was we had a really lovely day. I think we might plan some more :-)

  5. It's definitely not an issue where there is one right way.

    TV seems to be less of a problem and more easily self-moderated than computers/games, in my experience. The rewards of TV are less blatant than the rewards built in to most computer uses.


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