If you are fortunate in life, you learn early in age that the most important things in life are not “things.” Thousands of electronic devices, or things, barrage our daily life. Most of our devices have made our life easier and have helped us expand into frontiers we never thought possible. However, life is about balance. How can you determine if electronic devices such as the cell phone, iPod, computer, video games, etc. are dominating your life? More importantly, how influential are these devices in your child’s daily life?

Here are some questions that may help you determine if your child’s electronic devices are dominating their time and actions:

1. How many hours do your children spend on their cell phone, computer, iPod, or any other phone attachments for cell phones in one 24–hour period? How much time in a week? Also, factor in television.

2. Do your children isolate themselves for extended periods of time when using any of these devices? Determine if this is a privacy issue; or has it become a secrecy issue? Age may merit some privacy; but never secrecy.

3. How much reading from hardcover books or magazines does your child do, other than in school? Do not include the new “Kindle.” The Kindle, or similar devices, is an electronic-book-reader.

4. Does your child stay glued to their device with little or no outdoor activities?

5. Does your child become irritable when interrupted by visitors or family members while using a device?-At times even ignoring those that have entered the room.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to recognize a problem. If you have answered yes to most of these questions, then electronic devices have become too much of a dominating influence in your child’s life or maybe even yours.

We live in a technological age. Electronic devices are helpful, fun, and at times necessary. They are here to stay. What can you do to cut down on the dominating influence of electronic devices in your family and create a balance? There are balanced options and measures you can take as a parent. Be creative. Replace time spent with devices with new activities, establish a down-time for devices, and be willing to say “no” at the proper time to the use of electronics. The time to start is now. Put balance back in your family, and don’t let “things” dominate your lives.

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