Before founding Squish, I was feeling terribly overwhelmed with the way technology was taking over my children’s free time. My daughter was using social media and texting far more than she should and my son was someone who would stay on Minecraft for an entire day if I let him. I would, depending on my mood that day, cut them off without warning when I was fed up or feeling guilty. Not the best way to guide my children!
One of our favorite websites is Common Sense Media. I decided to get tips from them on how much time was appropriate for my kids because whenever my kids want to watch a show or download an app we go to commonsensemedia.org to check out the age ratings. It’s actually a positive experience because the site has ratings from adults AND children. We go through the comments and decide together whether it’s appropriate or not.
So one of the very first features I decided I wanted on Squish was a way to track what my children were doing in the current state of things. I wanted to sit back and see what was going on NOW. Only then did I feel I could go to them with a calm head and discuss managing their screen time WITH them.
Squish has a feature that tracks what they do and for how long. It can be viewed daily or weekly:
So I tracked them for a few weeks. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I clearly was allowing them to waste too much time on their screens. But once I had the information in my hands I sat them down and showed them the tracking summary. I did not judge, I just explained what it was and waited. They were both a little shocked at how much time they were spending on certain apps. It was the perfect opening. We were finally looking at their screen time without judgement and without emotion. From there, we came up with a list of things we would be happy doing instead of screen time. Still, not judging just moving their attention to the positive. And we came up with times of day they could use screentime. Squish was handy for that too.
I highly recommend this approach. Children want to feel like they have a say in what they do with their time. I hope this works for you and if you have other ways you’ve managed screen time in a positive way with your kids we’d love to hear it!
Happy Squishing! Christine