iFamily :: Electronics In Today’s Homes

We may as well call each other iDad and iMom…Mr. Thrasher and I share seven screens in our home. That may not be a lot for a home in the Bay Area, the epicenter of tech startups and Apple HQ. On occasion, four of those screens are in use at the same time: A movie or TV show is showing on the TV screen while Mr. Thrasher is quickly fixing a bug (that’s code for he’s software engineering something) and I was just reminded by something someone said on TV to look something up. At some point, both of us receive at least one text or alert which brings our cellphone screens to life. Only the iPad is peacefully resting in its sleeve on the bookshelf.

Do I really want to let my toddler play with a $600 device? Source: Thinkgeek.com

Quoting an article in the NY Times “technology has become an alienating force in the contemporary home”. Unfortunately, I agree. All too often, I am spending my nights with my husband but not together, while both of us are lost in our own virtual worlds. The other night, we started a game of Words With Friends while we were lying next to each other in bed. Knock, knock. Who’s there? Certainly not romance.

That’s when we realized we had to make a change. A while ago, I invented ‘opening hours’ to limit the time I spent online and thus allow me to focus more on offline quality time with friends and family. I’m happy to report that my daughter definitely benefited from my newly found self-discipline to control the use of electronics. I never neglected my baby because I had an important email to write or text to send. But now I’m also interacting more with her while she’s eating instead of texting or reading her a book in the morning instead of checking emails or having a pillow fight in bed instead of logging into Skype to see if my family in Germany is online.

Back to iDad and iMom and bringing sexy romance marriage time back. If you haven’t noticed, I need rules and guidelines and going cold turkey to deal with negative habits. Might be the German in me. So I started by deleting all my social media apps from my phone (read here why I took a hiatus from Facebook a while ago), I’m also turning my phone off on most nights and am charging it in the living room instead of next to my bed, on road trips we’re using our phones only for navigation purposes, to find a kid-/dog-friendly restaurant on Yelp or to make phone calls. By the way, car trips are excellent opportunities to connect with your spouse. And don’t forget to ‘talk’ with your toddler on the backseat.

The icing on the iCake, however is the No-Screen Sundays at Thrasher Home: On Sundays we refrain from logging into our computers, playing games on our phones or turning on the TV. Only exception: If we have truly important things to take care of that can’t wait. Speaking of important…my iBaby just woke up from her morning nap. Which means my computer goes into Sleep mode.

How iFamily are you? Do you let your toddler play with your electronics?



  1. We’re into a LOT of technology, too…it’s challenging! We’ll be surfing the net on our phones while watching TV or watching Netflix on my phone while I’m on the treadmill. Our photo albums, bookkeeping program, and music library are all on the computer!

    But we do the same thing – none of it on Sundays. It’s so much easier to honor the 4th Commandment and not waste away the hours on tech when we could be spending it with each other.

    As far as the Babe and technology? She can play with her own electronic toys, but everything belonging to mommy and daddy is off limits!

  2. I love that you’re setting limits! As the wife of a start-up entrepreneur and mom of a two year old, I know also how difficult and important setting those limits can be. I just deactivated my Facebook profile and a ton of useless blogs I was reading and it feels fantastic! My husband and I have no-screen nights as well and have been reading more, playing board games and just drinking wine and listening to music together. I’m all for it!

  3. Ginny Logan says:

    I haven’t acted upon it, but the day is quickly approaching I believe to be more screen free in our home. Did you read my Blue Manatee post on Simple? He has an “unplugged” blog that has great tips to be screen free til age 3.

    I have so much mom guilt for plopping my kids in front of the TV so I can get some more work done. Today the weather was so fantastic and we spent the entire day in the backyard. It was great. I’m not against electronics…I love them actually…but there has to be balance!

  4. My Dear,
    your behavior is not really german, but international.
    with love Mom

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