Most smartphone-owning parents wish they spent just a little less time staring, tapping, and scrolling – at least in front of their kids.
However, if we acknowledge the design, programming, and algorithms at work, it is fair to say that the odds are not in our favor. Because, let’s be real, while every one of us has the capacity to exercise our self-control muscles the phone is just too easy, too convenient, and too entertaining to change the habits we’ve established over the years.
The smartphone is used for endless utility functions that help manage our families and make our life more efficient. However, most parents would confess that much of their screen time is also unnecessary. Not only because it sets a bad example for kids but also because the same risks of altered worldview, competition/comparisons, envy/covetousness, and loneliness are present for parents just as they are youth. Albeit at lower rates.
We don’t often see statistics about adult smartphone-induced health issues, so maybe we assume what we’re doing is just fine. But have you noticed the depression, loneliness, and hopelessness crisis among our youth today? It’s bad. When the CDC reports that 57% of teen girls feel sad and hopeless and that 25% have seriously considered suicide, it’s time to look at every possible cause.
More than that, it is time to look for every possible solution.
Gen Z has grown up watching their parents look at their phones. How much less eye contact, conversation, and essential family interaction has been lost due to the presence of the parent’s phone?
Let’s confess this for what it is: our bad habits. This was our mistake. We may not want to humble ourselves in this acknowledgment, but we have to admit this is a potential cause for why Gen Z is struggling so severely.
Another potential cause for the state of young people today is our bad decisions in allowing so much access at such young ages. If the parent wants to sit on their phone and numb themselves, what do they inherently allow their smartphone-owning kid to do? Sit on their phone and numb themselves!!
It is a terrible cycle that is hard (although not impossible) to break. If you’re here, know that you are not alone. But now is the time to work towards a solution. Now is the time, brave parent, to repent and restore what has been lost. It is not too late.
Our God is a God of redemption and restoration. He alone can redeem what seems lost and repair what appears to be permanently broken.
Furthermore, as believers, we know that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood – it is not parents against kids. The battle is a spiritual battle with the dark powers and forces of evil, in some sense the spiritual battlefield is on the phone. But let us remind each other that our God is more powerful than any algorithm trapping our attention.
Above all else, God created us to live in relationship. First, with Him and second, with others. And because He created us for relationships, He can and will restore the relationships that have been lost due to the screen.
Our Suggested Solution
While repentance is always the first step, exerting self-control and changing bad habits is still hard. But we must! It is the next right step. Parents spending less time staring at their phones and more time looking at and engaging with their children could never be wrong. It is a worthy and honorable step to remedy the current crisis among young people.
What you need now is something to help you put your phone down. A motivator or encourager to prompt you to set your phone down and engage with your children.
One tool we suggest to help every family is Aro.
Built on the principles and science of habit formation, the Aro app and Aro Home device gamify the experience of being off your phone. (As they say: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em)
The Aro Home is a the visual cue for you to put down your phone. Drop your phone in the Aro Home and the Aro app automatically starts measuring the time you spend away from your phone, shows you data to improve your phone habits, and allows you to connect and compete with friends and family.
For the parents who like to “close their rings” and the kids who like to “keep their streaks” – you will love these features for better, positive habit formation.
Oh yeah. It charges too.
If we do little else to contribute to a solution for the loneliness and hopelessness of our present generations, let us spend less time on our phones and more time in relationship with our kids.
We have found Aro to be a truly fantastic tool to aid in reestablishing healthy screen time habits for your family. Brave Parenting has teamed up with Aro so that together we can create positive change and work towards solutions.
- Listen to our podcast with co-founder of Aro, Joey Odom.
- Sign up for Aro! Use our link and code BRAVE to get your first month’s subscription FREE!
- If you’re reading this on your phone – put it down and go invest in relationships! Go!