I try to be the kind of mom who holds myself to the same standards I expect of my kids. I don’t want them to drink alcohol or smoke, so I don’t do those things. I don’t want them to watch violent or sexually explicit entertainment, so I don’t watch those things myself. On the flip side, I want them to find good balance in their lives, be good to others, and choose good. So I try to live by those rules myself. I’m trying to teach them that if something is or isn’t good for them, the same applies to me.
But I have discovered a glaring discrepancy that I’m committed to fixing.
Ever since phones and other devices have become a staple in our lives, we’ve had a consistent rule about tech in our kids’ bedrooms—in that space, tech is not allowed. For obvious reasons, we want to keep our kids safe. We want to help them avoid the dangers of pornography and other dangerous cyber activity. We want to help them create safe places to not only relax and unwind, but also be free of the social pressures inherent with phone use.
The problem is, however, that I haven’t held myself to the same standard. Not only do I have my kids check their phones into my bedroom each night for safe keeping, but I also keep my own phone securely by my bedside every night. I’m saddened to say it’s usually the last thing I see before nodding off to sleep and the first thing I reach for when I open my eyes.
But not anymore.
After discovering why bedrooms should be screen free, I’m cracking down and telling myself, “Don’t sleep with your phone!” Here are 7 reasons why.
I still hold that keeping all tech in high traffic areas of the house is the smart play. Not only does it discourage nefarious activity by our kids, it also encourages social interaction. Even if things need to stay quiet for homework or other projects, having people around creates connections. As convenient as tech can be, it can also be isolating, especially if too much time is spent on tech alone. By keeping tech out of bedrooms, we and our kids are forced to interact with others and keep a good cyber/reality balance.
But it’s not just about safety. Studies show that blue light emitted from screens impacts the quality and continuity of our sleep. For example, “On average, exposure to blue light reduced the duration of sleep by approximately 16 minutes. In addition, exposure to blue light significantly reduced the production of melatonin,” the hormone connected with body cycles and sleep. In other words, if we stay glued to our screens in bed, we don’t sleep well. If we want better sleep, then we need to leave our phones and other screens out of our bedrooms.
Our phones and other devices keep us constantly connected to the outside world. Every new text, social media notification, and work email gains instant access through our screens. When we take those worries and responsibilities into our bedroom, there’s literally no escape from the stress. When we leave our devices outside our bedrooms, however, those incessant voices stay out as well. Make it clear to yourself (if not those in your social circles) that you have boundaries to your accessibility. Whatever it is can wait until tomorrow.
More Personal Connection
Bedrooms can be a safe place to connect and decompress. For years, our kids have come into our bedroom to check in after a night out with friends. If that space is screen free, it can become a safe haven for sharing confidences, struggles, and experiences. Additionally, screen free bedrooms can encourage conversation between spouses about everything from family worries to relationship goals and aspirations.
More Intentional Morning Routines
Whether your morning routine includes prayer, meditation, exercise, or a quiet chat with a family member, you can accomplish those things better without the interference of a phone. If you’re like me, when the phone is within reach, it’s the first thing you grab. But if it’s not there, you can be more intentional about starting the day off effectively.
Less Wasted Time
Let’s face it. We all waste too much time on our devices. One way to cut that waste is to sleep without our phones on the nightstand. If our phones are innocently charging in the office each night, we won’t (can’t) be tempted to check social media one more time for whatever it is we’re trying to discover. I promise (and I’m talking to myself), there is not one thing on that feed that will make a difference at 11:30 PM on a school/work night. Not one funny meme, not one more exotic trip of a friend, not one shared post. Not one thing. It’s just a time waster that we can all do without.
Sadly, we don’t spend enough time in quiet introspection these days. We don’t know how to be still and just think. It seems we’re always looking for the next stimulus. It seems we’re developing the attention spans of goldfish. But intentional mindfulness helps us develop critical thinking skills. It also helps us process emotions and understand the world around us. When we keep our bedrooms screen free, we’re forced to face ourselves and just think. Which is a great thing.
I’m Committed. Are You?
Maybe you see the benefits of keeping your kids’ bedrooms screen free. But can you agree that what is good for our kids is also good for us? I’m willing to give it a try.
I know it’s important to teach my kids good phone safety, which begins with getting them the right phone and teaching them how to use it. I also know the importance of keeping devices out of their bedrooms to help them sleep better, be safer, and have better connections. But after learning about the benefits of keeping bedrooms screen free, I’m also committed to trying it for myself. What do you say? Let’s give it a try.