"I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord."
Electronic devices have become ingrained in the everyday lives of everyone from working parents to preschool-aged children. In fact, smartphones, tablets, and computers are now so integrated into both school and work that one can no longer consider them a luxury, but a necessity. The problem is, however, that even though we may need electronic devices to perform important tasks and get by in life, almost everyone overuses them when they do not need them.
Overuse of electronic devices has become particularly problematic in the home. Healthy and active family life cannot help but grind to a halt when every member of the family is glued to their own screens. Cutting down on electronic use in the home can help you reclaim your family's abode as a place where everyone gathers to communicate and reconnect.
Setting Boundaries for Your Children
In order to decrease your children's use of electronic devices at home, you are going to need to set some firm rules and boundaries. Set a "no bringing devices" or "no checking devices" rule around the dinner table and when you are doing activities as a family. Consider setting a time limit on how late your children are allowed to have screen time, but make an exception for homework assignments (as long as you make sure that they are actually doing homework!).
If you are feeling uncomfortable with placing these boundaries on your children and upsetting them, just take heart and spiritual comfort in the inspiring words of Paul in his letter to the church at Corinth:
"I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord." (1 Corinthians 7:35)
Making the Transition as a Whole Family
When it comes to electronic device use, parents can sometimes be even bigger offenders than their kids or teens. You need to be able to set a good example and follow the rules you set for your children. If you absolutely must give yourself more leniency with your devices because of work commitments, then make sure you explain to your children that you need to follow a different set of rules, but that you are also working to decrease your screen time. You might find it difficult to pull yourself away from your devices at first, but, as another spiritually motivating St. Paul quote tells us:
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)
You it." need to aim to ban electronic devices from your home entirely. They may have their disadvantages, but they also have numerous benefits for life in the modern world. Focus less on the downsides of technology, and more on the upsides of reserving the home as a place for your family to come together.