Fort Worth, Texas,
12:02 PM

It's the kids' turn

The conclusion of our screen free experiment


This is the conclustion in our series on the Conklin family's efforts to go screen free, or at least cut back, from media this summer. This time, the kids have their say.

The summer is coming to an end and so is our time blogging about reducing our household media time. To finish up the series, I thought I would interview the kids and ask them what they thought about our summer experiment. The answers are very real and brutally honest. .

What was the best part of our screen free experiment this summer?

Max, age 11.5 years – “Hanging out with my friends at the pool more.”

Morgan, age 10 years – “In Michigan, it was like fun because we weren’t always on the screen and stuff, and we had more things to do with the world.”

Matthew, age 6 years – “Nothing at all.”

What was the worst part of being screen free?

Maxwell – “I couldn’t catch up on all the things I was missing on my games and less time playing with my friends (online).”

Morgan – “When I wanted the electronics because there was literally nothing to do, you wouldn’t let me have them, and that really annoyed me.”

Matthew – “I couldn’t play with anybody (online).”

What can we learn from our screen free summer?

Maxwell – “I learned that I play with my friends more online than I do in real life during the summer, not during the school year, but during the summer.”

Morgan – “Video games aren’t the answer to happiness.There are other things you can do besides electronics.”

Matt – “It (the computer) will make you mad if you watch it too long.”

Would you do this screen free experiment again?

Maxwell  - “No.”

Morgan - “I don’t know, maybe, if we go to Michigan, or a different state.”

Matthew – “Um, no.”

What should our family work on next?

Maxwell – “Playing more sports. That would be so much easier.”

Morgan – “Manners. Our family should work on being nicer to each other (siblings fighting). Being more serious about the screen free thing because we still played it a lot.”

Matthew – “Clean the house.”

The answers made me pause and think that while we actually had some pretty great screen free moments this summer, we still have some work to do (and we need to clean the house).

I am so incredibly grateful to Dr. Mangham and to Cook Children’s for this unusual summer experiment! Although we were not “screen free” and did not manage to “go dark” very often, being asked to write about our efforts really opened my eyes to just how much time we do spend on the screen, how much we depend on it and just how capable we are of living without it. We are a family that is “off” more than we are “on” now, and will continue to strive to use it less and less every day.

Thanks so much everyone!

About the author

Aubrey Conklin, moved to Texas from Michigan via Chicago almost 10 years ago. She’s been married for 14 years and is the  mom to three kids ages 11,10 and 6. A huge sports fan who not only loves all things Detroit sports but spends her own free time playing soccer, volleyball and softball. Aubrey is a part time preschool teacher as well, a volunteer for her kid's school. 

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