Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Current research suggests that a healthy mind requires
- time spent playing (this does not include playing video games),
- personally connecting with others,
- getting sufficient sleep,
- time to reflect inwardly on thoughts (thinking about your thinking),
- relaxing downtime,
- time-in, focused on tasks and working.
Reflection and downtimes can also be spent connecting with God. Time-in tasks can include serving within God’s kingdom and His larger story.
Many times our attempts to foster healthy minds get sidetracked by the urge—we call it a need—to check our phone, texts, or social media sites. That’s why we need technology limits. But those limits are just the first step in helping your family’s minds become comfortable without the presence of screens or earbuds. The following suggestions can also help your family find mental peace and rest:
- Officially plan downtime—one day per week or one day per month when everyone in your home unplugs for the entire day.
- Schedule an evening to play board games, with phones turned off.
- Go for a walk while looking for rocks or simply pondering God’s creation.
- Eat at least one unplugged meal together every week.
- Find a craft your kids are willing to do and have a craft time.
- Cook or bake together.
- Go swimming or boating.
- When you plan your vacation, remember it means to vacate your normal routine, which includes the use of screens and earbuds for all family members.
- Read a book together. Read the Bible together.
- Memorize Bible verses or a piece of poetry together.
Almost anything that gets you away from electronics, encourages you to ponder and observe things about life, or engages you in a tangible activity can bring peace and rest to your mind.
Filters and software will help you manage technology well and encourage media discernment in your home. There are many tools to choose from. Focus on the Family recommends the following.
NetNanny helps with filtering what is allowed to come through the internet into your technology devices. It provides parental controls, content blocking (including pornography), internet filtering (including profanity), and time-management software. The software provides you with alerts and reports as well.
Forcefield provides parental controls for mobile devices through an app. You get information about the overall activity on each device, as well as the ability to control apps on each device. Use Focus on the Family’s Plugged In reviews (PluggedIn.com) to help you make decisions regarding movies, music, video games, television, and books. The skilled team provides you with information to make the most informed decisions on media consumption.
- Daniel Siegel, Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012).