Jan 7, 2020
Brian Mayer talks about how technology, screen time, and social
media can secretly and silently destroy your connection with your
stepfamily. We will talk about this and some strategies to
reduce this as an issue. We hope you enjoy today’s
message. For more information and additional resources please
visit our website at http://www.theremarriedlife.com
- Over the last decade we have all become familiar with
how technology like smartphones, tablets and other devices
have eroded time together as a family and causes issues
for individuals even beyond the family.
- There are differing studies on the issues, but the
average screen time a teenager spends every day is around 6
hours. If you take away the time we need to sleep
which is usually around 7-9 hours, this means that 6 out of 15-17
hours a teenager is awake they are on the phone.
- You might thing that teenagers spend much more time in front of
a screen, but according to many studies of adults, it appears that
on average adults might spend around 11 hours in front of a
screen. Of course some of this could be work
related, but still this is an incredible amount of time.
- Now to be clear all use of technology is not
bad. Because of the way the world operates now,
sometimes there is not much we can do about. For example
determining the hours a restaurant is open is much easier to check
on the internet than to make a call to determine this.
- What about using apps that make video calls so that
loved ones can connect in a more face to face manner even
though it is through the screen.
- Now while screentime can be beneficial it can often be
a hindrance to connection. This is no more of an important
issue that those of us that exist in a blended
- With connection between stepparents and stepchildren or
between step siblings already tenuous at best, we need all the help
we can get to strengthen those connections.
Unfortunately kids and screens whether they voluntarily use them or
a parent is asking them to get on a screen because the child is
“bored” is getting in the way of already frayed
- Let’s talk about some ways that we can reduce screen
time and some suggestions for what can be done
- Give some advance notice that you have made a decision
that screen time should be reduced. So maybe one
week prior and for each day make an announcement that screen time
will soon be required to be reduced.
- Setting limits on screen time is important but you must
go slowly. Unfortunately screen time is somewhat
like an addiction. You may have seen meltdowns on the
internet which kids are asked to put down the screens and
games. So maybe you start with a 15 min block of time
once a day for a week to ask everyone to put away
- You could even not do this everyday, but say every
other day or once every 3 days if you would
- Everyone should participate even the
adults. This probably goes without saying, but there
is slightly higher likelihood that the children will fall in line
if they see you practicing what you are telling them to do.
Now notice I said slightly and in some cases there is potential
this will not work and the children will still be angry.
- Each person in the family has their own day where they
have to reduce screen time as another option. So for
example, maybe your day is Mondays to limit. Maybe your
spouse takes Tuesdays. Then you stepson takes Wednesdays, and
your daughter takes Thursdays. This will actually help put
the spotlight on one family member to know that they are in some
ways being watched. Of course reward the individual with lots
of compliments if you “catch” them on your day.
- Substituting screen time for something else is also
important. Games that involve the entire family can
- Chores that each child must complete first before
screen time can help to limit the amount of time on the
- Implementing a physical fitness routine is also
- According to the USDA, adults should do at least 2
hours and 30 minutes of aerobic physical activity at a
moderate level or about 1 hour and 15 minutes at a vigorous
- For kids between the ages of 6-17 years old, they
recommend 60 minutes or more of physical activity a
day. There should be muscle building activity as
- This is not going to be easy because as we know, humans are
generally averse to change. Kids are especially prone to have
difficulty with change. So again to repeat take this slow and
give lots of advance warning that changes will be made.
- The changes you make now can work to strength everyone’s
social, intellectual, emotional and physical well-being.
- Okay so I am going to practice what I teach by wrapping
up this episode and going to do what I love and that is go for a
run. It is a bit chilly but hopefully within a few
minutes of starting I will get nice and toasty.
- Good luck with your work to help reduce screen time and
begin to strengthen connections in your stepfamily.
Thanks For Listening!
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grateful than you know that you took time to listen to this podcast
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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it
is something you do. Talk to you next week unless you are
binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in
about a minute! Take care.