I have a theory about why we like to watch series like The Walking Dead. The kind of living which is displayed is simplified, back to basic, survival. The characters don't know if they will be alive tomorrow or not. This makes you live in the present, not thinking about the future or have excessive thoughts about the past: no social media, no internet, and no smart phones.
Is that a life to envy and longing for? Both yes and no, not to live with a constant fear of being killed but a life of simplicity. Living without the addiction of the internet and the smartphone, instead use the phone to call an old friend and talk, read a book, or do a hobby one hasn't done for a while mainly because of the addictive internet. If you are older than forty, you know how life was before Google and the iPhone. I don't say that life was better back then. It is not fair to compare, but we had more choices. We could visit friends, improve our skills, play an instrument, carpentry or play catch with our kids. We still have those options, but I know firsthand how easy it is to get stuck in front of the computer to watch another three episodes of a sitcom. I'm saying this as a person who had a life before the internet and social media. How hard is then for the younger generations who grew and are growing up with the constant accessibility and availability of things just a couple of keystrokes away? I can still remember when I grew up in Sweden with only two TV channels and have to wait a week for the next episode of Dallas or How the West was Won (The Macahans).
What can we do to limit our use of the internet and smartphones? How do we break the cycle of our children's addiction to it? First, we need to do role modeling; "don't do what I do, do what I say." is not working! As adults, we have to look over our habits and make a plan on how to tackle them. When we figured out how to cut back on our own screen time, then, not before we sit down with the children, discuss their excessive screen time. Like an alcoholic to quit drinking, it makes it easier to replace drinking with something else. The same with the kids, think about what they could do instead of the screens. Younger children you can read to, interest them in doing creating things like puzzles, playing pretend games, outdoor playing. The older you ones you could encourage to read, try to find books they would be interested in. Do you have a hobby your son or daughter would be interested in doing as well? Family movie night is a good habit; it could be alternated with the board-game night. Try to implement these things with clear rules when screens are, and not allowed. It will be an unhappy adjustment period with plenty of whining and complaining from the floor, stay strong, and do not get manipulated to cave in. It is important to get the kids to understand and discover other things besides the screens.
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