The Battle with Digital

Young digital screen addict

Are we fighting a losing battle with screen time?

It seems like every time I talk with other parents, especially parents of teenagers, the topic of conversation at some point turns to “screen time,” or how much time our kids are spending on digital devices. Of the parents I’ve spoken to, it seems like the vast majority are frustrated and having a hard time managing screen time. Like me, they have usually tried different systems or rules but, again like me, they have found it difficult to effectively and consistently police those rules. The addictive nature of gaming and social media mean that their kids will inevitably test boundaries and find loopholes in the rules. The parents who seem to have the situation most under control are the ones who have set the strictest of boundaries from the start and managed to stick to their guns.

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Breaking the Cycle

Waking up early

Have you ever had one of those mornings?

You wake up, usually from a lucid dream, feeling a real sense of clarity about something, as though your subconscious had been wrestling with a problem during the night and finally figured it out. In my case I woke up earlier than usual this morning and went through a thought process that I felt I needed to write down.

Last night I had a lengthy talk with my 14-year-old son about a few unresolved issues that have been bothering and frustrating me. My concerns centre around the amount of time he spends playing video games online but the chat also got into things like how he’s doing at school, his general moodiness and lack of cooperation around the house, and how he plans to spend his upcoming summer holidays. Pretty standard stuff for a parent-teenager talk.

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Ain’t no Cure for the Summertime Blues

Busy summer schedule

Okay, I don’t have the blues, just a mild summer cold. But I think one reason that I caught this cold is that I’ve been so busy and stressed out on multiple fronts recently. And one reason, ironically, is that I’m trying very hard to be a good father and role model!

One of the things I’ve been busy with is trying to get the Father Lessons project off the ground over the last month. But I’m finding that this is a difficult time of year for a full-time dad – especially one who struggles with multitasking at the best of times – to be trying to get anything off the ground. Apart from Father Lessons and my regular work, which at least in my case is very flexible, I need to figure out to keep the kids occupied over the 6 weeks or so of summer holidays – a topic big enough for its own blog post, I think.

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Happy Father’s Day!

The family at Dublin Zoo, 1969

It’s been a bit of a mad rush to get this site launched in time for today, but I could hardly miss the opportunity to officially launch the site on Father’s Day!

So let’s send out a big Thank You to all fathers out there, and also spare a thought for those struggling with the role, for those fathers separated from their families, and for anyone missing their father on this day of all days.