A little over a month ago, my wife and I sat down to create and agree to a set of boundaries around our use of technology.

Basically it was her telling me to get off my phone and pay attention to our family! While I tried to justify my actions because I mainly read articles on my phone (in other words I could understand her frustration if I was playing games all the time), she was right.

I want my two daughters to know their father as someone who will pay attention to them instead of stare at a brilliantly lit glass square that emits light, text and graphics all the time.

So here are our “technology boundaries”:

During weekdays, we cannot read, look, or interact with our phones after the girls wake up in the morning (usually around 7am for us) and before the girls go to bed (usually around 8pm for us). Yep, when the girls are awake, the goal is to pay attention to them. This doesn’t mean we can’t take a phone call, or look something up real quick. But it does mean that we set the tech device down (this includes laptop computers) and play with our children.

On the weekends, we allow ourselves around one hour of pursuing, reading, interacting, emailing, etc. per day. This can happen all at once or interspersed throughout the day. The intent is to give more leeway to read leisurely, while still being attentive to our family.

So far, this has been a great discipline for me. I definitely goof off with my girls a whole lot more than I did, which is good. However, I have not been able to keep up with the amount of reading I used to do on blogs and such. My Google Reader unread count is growing daily and I’m unable to keep up.

Oh well… blogs lose, but my kids win!

A great related article: Jesus Stole My Daddy…

So what about you? Are technology devices running your life or are you running it? Do your kids suffer from your inattention because technology takes your attention?


  1. Good for you and Amanda for recognizing this and taking action– stick with it! It will definitely be worth it as your girls get older and are drawn more and more into that limitless world at their fingertips. Just as they need and want your full attention now, you will also need and want their full attention later. Much easier to begin to set reasonable boundaries now, than when they’re 13! (or 8)

    • Thanks, Naomi! You’re right… what we do now through the patterns we set and the routines we adopt “teach” and “train” our kids… and that will either help them or hurt them (depending on what your training them to do).

  2. Hey-

    This is great. Do you use an egg timer for the one hour? How do you quantify the hour? I am not trying to be picky, this is just something that Kendra and I are talking about too.

    Thanks a ton for this note,

    • Matt, we’ve largely gone off of the intent and relational accountability instead of an egg timer. Although you might be giving us a good idea there!

      We needed to drastically reduce our “screen” time on devices and this loose boundary structure has helped us. Others might need a stronger boundary, like putting the devices away in a locked cabinet or handing them to our spouses for them to hold and get permission from in order to use.

      What you employ will largely depend on how much and how drastically you need to correct certain behavior.

  3. I’m sharing this with Matt! 🙂 I’m at fault with this too but we both need to be better. Thank you for sharing!


  4. Parents can so easily destroy their children by unintended neglect — and can so easily win them with appropriate love and attention. It takes time!!!

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