It’s Time for a Digital Detox

By Adrienne Reece

Listen to “It’s Time for a Digital Detox” here

Funny story: My husband was recently sharing with me about something that he had been praying for. He told me that in the midst of his prayers, that he heard God answer him speedily. To be transparent and give context, he was asking God why I wasn’t doing something he wanted me to do, and he was praying for me to align with his vision. 

*Pause* Now wives and future wives: this is why it’s important to have your own relationship with God. Never think that God is more for your husband than He is for you. It’s simply not true. God doesn’t love your husband more than you just because He made him the leader and not you. It IS vital however, for you to align yourself with the will of God, know His Word and know how to petition God for yourself.

 Although it’s not the case every time, this time God gave me what I asked for in the situation and He gave my husband peace about it. 

During that conversation, my husband asked me a question that I haven’t been able to let go. My answer to his question has been the missing link in my thought process for a while but I didn’t know how to identify it. The question he asked me was “What’s Your Burden?” We were talking about different areas and passions of work such as government & politics, physical, mental & emotional wellness, this beautiful planet and the well-being of all that are on it including plants and animals. There are literally thousands of causes to support or “burdens” to bear. 

While most people know me as a health enthusiast, and that is true; that’s not how I answered his question. Believe it or not I told him I have a burden for children; young, impressionable, fragile, sensitive, ever growing children. Perhaps because I’m a very intentional Type A mom to a young child, or perhaps because I look at the direction our world is going, and I can’t help but want to grab my son and any and every one that we know and run the other way. Either way, I had never thought of it as a ‘burden’ before but as we kept talking, I realized that is exactly what it is! 

One definition of the word ‘burden’ is ‘a load, typically a heavy one.’ How accurate! Although it doesn’t stand alone in my heart, I have a huge “load” of enthusiasm and passion for giving our children back the gift of childhood as well as spiritual awareness. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me and to do not hinder them, for the kingdom belongs to such as these.” (Matt 19:14) But this journey begins with us, the parents. 

So, for the next few minutes, I want to encourage and equip you for this journey of parenthood no matter where you find yourself. You may be a single parent, or a season or two ahead of me with grandchildren but let me tell you we have more commonalities than differences in this area. We believe and support the healthy upbringing of children; we believe that early exposure is unhealthy, and we want our children to grow up physically and mentally to become the absolute best and most productive version of themselves. We are in this together. 

Earlier this year, I was invited to listen to a podcast episode that talked about what technology was doing to our children It was an amazing episode and I invite you to listen to it here. The podcast is called 1000 Hours Outside and quickly became a favorite and now I hardly miss an episode. The podcast got its name because a study came out that said that children spend roughly 1000 hours looking at screens per year. The founder decided to flip this and said let’s take children outside for 1000 hours instead. A mom with a passion for raising healthy, happy well-rounded children. Does she sound like anyone you know? She birthed a movement. What’s interesting about this entire idea is that it’s not new. If you’re a parent right now, chances are you remember–we grew up outside. My mom had this unique finger whistle. She had a rule, if we were too far to hear her whistle, we were too far. It was loud and distinct. Even thinking about it brings up nostalgic memories. Now, only one generation later, it seems that going outside has become the worse sentence for a child. 

One thing I want to challenge us with is to get our children back outside. Studies show that people that get exposed to the natural elements have a better quality of life and often live longer. From chronic illnesses in adults, to healthy imaginations in children. A recent study came out that said that screens are stealing the imagination of our children. When you give a child a blank piece of paper and tell them to draw or write, they don’t know where to begin. Or when you give them some action figures or a doll they have trouble coming up with a storyline to play out. I’m definitely not advocating for an all or nothing approach for screens because I believe they have a significant place in our world today, but I am advocating for us to own them and then not to own us. I’m also advocating for slower integration, healthy boundaries, and more options.

Healthy boundaries is key. When you say time is up, time is up.

I’m sure by now you are aware of the dopamine effects (the reward anticipation sensation in the brain) that we get when we get a notification from our social medias, and an even bigger one when we post something that is liked or commented on by our virtual community. This is the same chemical that many addictive drugs release; it’s also called the chemical of pleasure. Well, imagine that same dopamine response going off in your child’s developing brain. From toddler to teenager, these dopamine responses are turning our children into unrecognizable people. Have you seen what happens if you try to take a tablet away from a toddler? It’s unbecoming to say the least and the only way to make it stop, especially in public is to give the phone back to them, therefore giving them, another hit of dopamine. Have you tried talking to a present yet absent teenager? The normal hormonal changes are enough to bare without adding the tension of a tik Tok account. 

Because their brain is also still developing, the comparison game becomes extremely real and crucial for them. Jesus warned us; “Take heed, and beware of the covetousness, for a man’s life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. (Luke 12:15) They don’t understand that what they see is just a highlight reel and is not everyday life. All they see is that the one on the other side of the screen seems to have this or that and they don’t. Have you notice the spike in teenage pregnancy (male and female)? What about suicides? It’s partially due to comparison of others online having what looks glamorous. Our children are becoming overexposed earlier and earlier and are being robbed of the once in a lifetime opportunity of a true, meaningful childhood.

Making a water tornado
Thinkery Children’s Museum, Austin TX
10/10 recommend

My point is this, own the devices, don’t let the devices own you or your family. Take a regular day off every now and then and just engulf yourself in the presence of the moment. Whether it’s a movie night at home, dinner with your family at the table, or a weekend camping trip, don’t be afraid to put the phone away and just enjoy. Buy a disposable camera if you must and make a fun family affair out of the whole thing. I’m sure that will give everyone a good laugh! Establish and regulate screen time and don’t be tempted to give in to the pressure for a smartphone too soon. Realize that this pressure can be regulated, and most parents feel the same way you do about giving a smartphone too early but no one wants their child to be left out. 

There is a pledge that challenges you to wait until 8th grade to give a smartphone. The pledge is community based and let’s other parents and children know that they are in it together. Most of the time, the idea of a smartphone comes into play because of peer pressure or after school activities, but if you talk to parents you find out that they didn’t really want to do it yet either but felt all but powerless due to unrealistic social pressure and expectations for a smartphone. The brain of a 9-12 year old is far from mature in many areas and waiting gives enough time to have needed conversations when the parent and child are truly ready without rushing to and through sensitive topics. 

As for younger children, early exposure to screens has been shown to increase the risk of ADHD and other cognitive challenges. It’s normal for kids to be full of energy. Let me repeat,! Let me challenge the notion that doctors have ALL the answers. I want to challenge us to use their reports as guidance instead of gold. After all, they are in a perpetual state of medical PRACTICE. It is my belief that it’s often not our children that have the issue. Kids are supposed to run, play, get dirty, and make messes but somewhere that has become abnormal and unacceptable. They go to an organized school, where they are required to sit and listen majority of their day, then come home and because of the speed of life, we miss opportunities to connect. Their only outlets have become screens which involves more sitting and little to no moving and definitely no elevation of the heart rate. Ours too. Videogames, Social Media and Reality TV. I find that my own son has his best days when he is given liberty to roam outside or when I give him my undivided attention for a few minutes first thing in the morning. No matter how long or short, he listens better, he’s more intuitive and he learns real boundaries.

Do your children play that Roblox game? A recent study found that the amount of user hours logged on that platform would amount to 144,000 lifetimes. Now, when we think of age demographics we realize that this is 144,000 lifetimes being stolen from young children before they even leave the home and begin to merge into society. 

Your children and the nuclear family unit are a gift from Heaven. The Creator of Heaven and Earth saw fit to place you in that family. The songwriter told us that He is intentional and He absolutely is. It’s important for us to consistently practice good stewardship, not just over the things He gives us, but the people He gives us. You have everything you need to give your child the best gift; the gift of an authentic childhood. A childhood they never want to forget. Like the one you had, or wish you would have had. Ask God for wisdom in this area. He gives wisdom freely to all those that ask. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5) We must be willing to ask and listen to His instructions but in order to do this we must SLOW.DOWN. Yep, I said it. The infamous countercultural words that no one wants to hear or receive these days. But it’s truly time for us to SLOW down. If you are too busy to spend regular time with your family or with God or don’t feel like you’ve heard from Him lately, then consider that you may be entirely too busy.

Over the summer, I shared an idea with my husband that included all of us doing absolutely nothing all summer long. No activities, no church commitments, no big plans to visit family, no hosting family, absolutely nothing! Sounds excruciating huh?! We had one 6-day trip planned for the summer, and that was it. At first my husband was extremely hesitant and even a little resistant. He even brought me the schedule from our neighborhood community center to encourage me to put our son in some type of organized activity to help pass the time and give him something to do. I filed the schedule and never mentioned it. On day 30 of summer vacation, I went to him and said, guess what today is? I said today is 30 days into summer vacation. He looked blown away that that much time had passed. His birthday was about two weeks later, followed by our trip to Puerto Rico, then the back to school theme was in full motion. 

Just yesterday, I was chasing his wobbly legs down the hall as he was learning to walk. Today, I’m chasing him down the street on his bike. They really do grow up right before our eyes.

Let me share that the time absolutely flew by! We went on walks and bike rides to the neighborhood park at least 3 days a week. I cooked breakfast and dinner almost every day and my son learned to ride a bike. It’s so interesting that when I tried to go back and insert an extra-curricular activity, it was hard to see where it would have fit.

I know this might seem out of the norm from our usual faith focused topics, but I wanted to take an intermission to sound the alarm on a few trends I’ve noticed. Technology absolutely has its benefits. But it is extremely important, vital even, for us to create healthy boundaries for ourselves and our children regarding these devices. “For we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.” ( 2 Cor 2:11) We know he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) And before your family slips away into the ever-quenching grasp of this world I want to equip you with some practical things you can do to maintain or reel in your family’s bond. I challenge you to not just send your kids outside but go with them. Sit in a chair and watch them, or get in the dirt beside them. Re-establish family game night where everyone shares one device for a game such as Heads Up, or the only rule in place is no cell phones at all. Switch it up, but make it mandatory. At first it’ll seem like pulling teeth, but 10 years from now, I bet it’ll be one of the things they remember most. We only get 18 summers with them to ourselves if we should be so lucky. Our service and our ministries do not represent God to the fullest when our home life is so busy that we don’t spend time regular time with The One who gave us time or time with the ones He gave us. 

My husband’s birthday, after church, July 2022

Let us know if you enjoyed this topic by leaving a comment down below. We would love to know how you are planning to implement small changes in your home or family life moving forward. 

There will be a more in depth discussion on this topic, on Adrienne’s Youtube Channel. If you haven’t already joined her community, click the link to join, she would love to have you.

Don’t forget to visit for more blogs, just like this one! See you in the comments!

5 thoughts on “It’s Time for a Digital Detox

  1. This is an extremely informative article and really puts into perspective the importance of being intentional about quality time with family as well as intentional about minimum amount of time with routine mindless behavior 🥴 Definitely made me re-evaluate the way I spend my time alone and with my children!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS!!!!! We as parents & children need to go back to the basics. Hands on learning! There’s nothing like the feel of a book in your hands. Too much technology these days and not enough interaction with one another. No wonder why these new generations are so disconnected from one another, confused as to who they are and who GOD designed them to be!! 🤗❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 💎 “It’s important for us to consistently practice good stewardship, not just over the things God gives us, but the people He gives us.” I couldn’t agree more!!👏🏾

    Thank you for giving us the facts! I especially appreciated the study showing that people who get exposed to natural elements have a better quality of life and often live longer, from chronic illnesses in adults, to healthy imaginations!

    Our first mission grounds is family and our household! Thank you for a gospel filled challenge for us to steward time well and not take it for granted!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: