interview with parent
interview with expert
Mom Forbids Her Kids From Using Screens, Seven Months Later They Show The Positive Effects In This Pic (Interview With Parent)
One of the coziest and comfiest things that you can do is spend all of Saturday morning cuddled up in bed, reading books with your family.
Mom Forbids Her Kids From Using Screens, Seven Months Later They Show The Positive Effects In This Pic (Interview With Parent)
See all images (6)

One of the coziest and comfiest things that you can do is spend all of Saturday morning cuddled up in bed, reading books with your family. The only way things could be better if reading time is followed by a full English breakfast (make the bacon extra crispy), a pot of Earl Grey tea, and a walk in the local park to feed the ducks.

Mother, writer, and blogger Molly DeFrank found out firsthand that limiting the time her kids spend glued to phone, TV, and computer screens has plenty of upsides. She posted an honest, wholesome, and unstaged photo of her family reading books in bed one Saturday morning. It’s so heartwarming that we couldn’t help but smile.

Scroll down for Bored Panda's interviews with DeFrank and with Dr. Liz Donner about limiting the time that kids spend in front of the screen.

“It’s so easy to hand your kid an iPad or flip on a show when you want a few minutes to yourself. But parents are in a unique position right now, because screens were never as accessible to kids as they are today,” DeFrank told Bored Panda.” So we have kind of a long-term uncontrolled social experiment going on with our kids. It’s hard to blame parents when this technology is available and easy. But at some point you have to stop and ask yourself, is this the best way for our home to operate? Ultimately we decided it wasn’t so we made a change.”

DeFrank said that the benefits of restricting screen time for kids are huge. “I can’t emphasize the benefits enough. I’ve started to more clearly see our kids’ talents and interests. They are taking the time to pursue those interests since they have a lot more time. My daughter reads faster than we can check out books. She writes stories. My son draws pictures and even initiated a family drawing night in which he was the instructor. It’s good for kids to be bored sometimes so they can take initiative and create. I read the Tech Wise Family By Andy Crouch and he said in their family, they aim to create more than they consume. I loved that principle. I’m starting to see the benefits.”

What’s more, DeFrank was glad to share her book recommendations for kids: “Book recommendations are one of my favorite topics! My 10-year-old daughter loves Max Einstein by James Patterson. I hosted a little book club for my daughter and a few friends and they read Best Family Ever by Karen Kingsbury. I also introduced her to some of my favorite books as a kid, including the Babysitter’s Club series. My boys love graphic novels. We got my older so the Action Bible which he can’t put down. Homeschool moms make my favorite book lists, I especially love, she has amazing book lists. Technology can be a great tool, but we just want to make sure that in our house we are using the technology, rather than being enslaved to it.”

Some of the benefits of reducing screen time include improved creativity, more vivid imaginations, revived curiosity about the world, soaring academic performances, better sleep, more happiness, and better attitudes. And the best part? Limiting screen time and doing a tech-detox is far easier than it sounds. We adults could also benefit from taking a longer break from screens, wouldn’t you agree?

"I'd say the biggest challenge when it comes to limiting screen time is finding something else to replace it. A screen is very captivating and can keep a child entertained for hours while their parents are busy getting other things done. Many parents allow free reign because they feel that the screen is harmless or even educational for their child's developing brain," Dr. Donner explained to Bored Panda.

She continued: "Limiting screen time increases the amount of valuable real-life skill development. Kids require actual human interaction to enhance their social skills and even motor development. They need to learn to understand real human facial expression, body language, tone of voice, and reciprocal communication skills."

"Screen-free interaction with your children doesn't have to be anything fancy. Reading a book to them as early at 6 months of age has shown to increase their language and reading skills later in life. Hands-on play time will teach them social interaction and motor skills that are essential to their healthy development. Lastly, we find that less screen time in the toddler years corresponds to lower rates of ADHD by the age of 7."

“My kids love all of the screens. But the screens do not love my kids back. It turns out that screens were doing to my children exactly what the studies claimed they were doing: cultivating distracted, grumpy and argumentative little people. Not what I want for my babies who I love more than life,” DeFrank wrote in her blog.

“I knew screens were having a negative impact on my kids, even though we only allowed an hour a day. One day when I got home after running errands, my kindergartener greeted me at the door with, “Can I play on your phone?” Nope. That was the last straw. My husband and I decided that we needed a course correction, ASAP.”

She continued: “So we told the kids at dinner that screens were no longer an option in our home. After the weeping and gnashing of teeth subsided, guess what? Everyone moved on. What started as a thirty day screen detox has become a lifestyle overhaul in our home of five children under the age of ten. Quitting was shockingly easy, surprisingly sustainable, and my nine year old daughter has told me on several occasions that she’s glad we’ve cut them out.”

Dear Pandas, have you taken a break from using technology? Have you ever done a complete tech-detox for a long period of time? Do you limit the time you spend in front of phone, TV, and computer screens in your everyday life? Do you have any advice on how to rest from using technology for those of us who work with computers all day long? We’d love to hear your thoughts and advice, so drop us a line in the comments!

Comments (96)
Are TV screen and the Internet automatically bad? Are books automatically good? Neither is true. What is ultimately true in ANY CASE is to do the things TOGETHER with your children.
Kurisurin Sutaringu
Why do idiots think reading books AND being tech-savvy is not a thing?! Do you not know you can also find books online?! Also another thing about reading: if you force it, it won't be fun anymore. You WANT your kids to enjoy reading, right? Get them books on the topic THEY enjoy! Hell, they even have Minecraft novels out! And not all kids WILL enjoy reading, just as not all kids enjoy going outside!
Arn Poe
When "screen time" is severely restricted or abolished in the home, but is socially acceptable in the community, children will seek it any chance they get; the person restricting it is just an obstacle. "Screens" will become more attractive, and your kids will crave them. If you want to get your children off devices AND set them up to be healthy adults, you would be available as their parent. Open their eyes to new experiences, teach them how to do things, and teach them to self-regulate their screen time. Teach them to use their devices to enhance their real-world adventures. My kids have unrestricted "screen time" as long as they've got their schoolwork and chores completed, and they enjoy reading physical books, playing in the treehouse, catching critters, cooking dinner, dressing up, building things, riding bicycles, etc ... and will complain when their friends only want to play video games. "It's easier than you'd think" ...
As someone who had its creativity severely impaired by the lack of internet during childhood these things make my blood boil. Bad books and mind numbing real life games exist, stop being afraid of technology.
Graham Smith
Women poses kids in bed with books, take pic with mobile device and ingratiates herself on social media.
For those of you upset, she states that technology is not a bad thing, they just needed to overhaul the way they were using it. Maybe you think it's a terrible thing but it seems to be working out well for her family.
Flame Phoenix
OK, as a teenager, I don't think I'm as bed as I could be, yes I can get a little angry but I quickly get over it. If it wasn't for video games, my family wouldn't bond as much as it does. We sit down and all play Mario party all the time. So... While it might be a huge improvement for this family I don't think I could do that properly
Why do people have a problem with this family having more than two kids... some people complain about the weirdest things ?
You should ABSOLUTELY have your kids unplug as it has caused a demonstrated increase in the inability to focus. Also its great that it works for her...but frankly I find the story ridiculous and self promoting.
Tanya Sloane
We do screen free Sundays. It's amazing how much you can get done when the screens aren't in play. I know it's only one day a week but the children now know they can deal without having a screen in front of them, there is more to life.
Leif Nielsen
I think this all depends entirely on the child. Our 5YO has unlimited access to his iPad 24/7. That means he is developing his own feelings about when to use it, when to read, when to go outside and when to play with the guniea pigs. Our experience is that giving him a free reign has given him a natural, unforced usage pattern. The other day the kindergarten teacher praised his creativity and noted how well we must be controlling his screen time. She was quite disappointed when my wife told her that he has unlimited access to an iPad :)
Wow, people really don't like being told that too much technology is bad for people, especially children - damn...
Tuesday night was library night and Saturday mornings was for cartoons growing up. I'm still a pretty active reader
Samhhain Cat
Uh.... so make them stand out with their friends and watch them get bullied at school while they bend over backwards to get screen time any way they can get it, and probably lie to you constantly about it. Sounds like a plan. WHAT ABOUT BALANCE???? Does nobody see shades of grey anymore? ANYTHING in excess is bad, ANYTHING.
Viv Hart
I was a Children's Librarian for 32 years, loved my work, esp. when one would return a book that I'd recommended, saying 'Have you any more of these', e.g. The Narnia Chronicles, or The Little House on the Prairie, this was back in the 70's & 80's, then TV arrived in South Africa, and reading slowed down. So I'd start competitions, with prizes for the most avid reader, & the books started moving again. Bedtime stories are the best way for a Mom or Dad, to cultivate a look of books, and also togetherness.
Helen Haley
I find this kind of thing hilarious. My mom grounded me from books as a kid because my nose was always in one. Anything they over-do as a kid is detrimental. Reading, screen time, tv, sports, it is all about teaching self-regulation and how to have balance. Striking any one thing as evil will be detrimental.
Holly Allen
My house is so daughter can read for HOURS while I prefer to zombie out in front of the TV (or phone). I need the screen ban for ME...but I'd probably have a temper tantrum
Taly Reznik
It's hilarious how many books I've read on my phone.
Helen Haley
After reading through comments, a few thoughts. Not everyone is naturally social. Not every kids is going to jump at the opportunity to go do social activities or sports or whatever. Even as a kid I LOATHED going to the pool, so many people, so loud, no shade, just everything about it was aweful. I found sports boring and pointless (still do) and that whole roving gang of kids hanging out thing, is a myth. Kids are just like adults in that they don't want to hang out with a bunch of people they don't like. My mother was a social butterfly and drug us to any and all things with tons of people and kids. I hated every moment and always just found a quiet place to read. I truly wished I had a phone with an endless library in it as a kid so that I could escape the endless prattle of childhood conversations.
Caroline Driver
Friends of ours have a 2 y/o who is definitely going to be a night owl. I've never seen a child hate going to sleep so much. But. When we go round for a game one night a week, they give her a tablet to keep her quiet. Mainly because if they try to put her to bed, she screams the place down. Which they might let her do if she was a singleton, but it would keep her older brother awake, and he really needs his sleep. We all feel that they are making a rod for their own back, but it's not for us to tell them what to do with their kid. So we shall see how this pans out as she gets older
Sarah Kate Lamming
No screens allowed, and tech is the devil yet her she is talking a picture of her kids in bed and posting it all over the Internet! A bit ironic maybe? This isn't that rare, but I think it's better when tech and non screen activities such as reading and creative play are balanced... probably leads to more balanced children on the long run maybe. As they grow up they may well resent the no screen policy especially if mum is using her phone for social media! Better to teach them to manage screen time responsibly than a blanket ban.
Today's kids and young adults are socially stunted. I see and interact with them on a daily basis. Half of them can't even form a complete sentence. In my opinion, reading improved my education and my social skills. Yes technology is important, but putting the phone or computer down for family and friends time would definitely be a plus.
This is so sad. The fact that parents see nothing wrong with allowing their children to spend hours staring at a tablet is ridiculous. I use my laptop too much as well but I still make sure to read books and magazines - I'm so glad I grew up in the 90's.
David Jeu
Screens are as good as books, what matter is the content.
deanna woods
I grew up during the whole Accelerated Reader program and I can say that as an adult I don't mind reading, but I don't think that it's a hobby for everyone. Instead of just telling your kids that they don't get devices anymore, try to plug them into things on the device that interest them. TV and the internet are not bad as long as you monitor what your child is doing on it.
Prisha Kesh
You know you can find books online for free on things like Storyline Online and Youtube right? Plus, you shouldn't take away TV time 'cause that'll just make the kids want it more. Just my thoughts.
miya rowley
that's what we need in our house our eyes are always on the tv screen she is very clever
So many times, parents look at the cell phones, tablets, as a babysitter. I use to work part-time at a restaurant as a server. We offered coloring and crayons to the kids to entertain them, and it also has the children's menu on it. But no one looks at it, from the minute they are sat down to the minute they leave, a phone or a tablet is shoved in their face to occupy them. I waited on a family of six evening, came o take their order, everyone of them was on their cell phone. What is the point of going out to dinner with your family if everyone is on the phone?
I remember when I was a kid it was bad to dump your kid in front of the telly. Each generation has there vice. People that say in my day we didn't have it and we are fine....that is thing thing you had no option.....I bet plenty would use a movie or a game for an hour to get shit done, the 'myday' metric is redundant.
So, if you limit screen time, your kids will stay in bed all day long? That's the impression the picture gives. ?
Ashley Wright
What do I think? I think when the kids become older (right around the corner!), life without screen time will be h*ll. They will compare their lives to their friends’ lives and you will never hear the end of it. Unfortunately,, this is a problem parents face today, and, trust me, it’s easy now at your kids’ ages, but it’s only going to get harder. #IveBeenThere
technology was made by older generations to be addictive and help us and now they want to take it way dont make no sense but OK BOOMER
Ideally the real lesson here would come from integrating the technology in better ways. Yes, e-readers aren't a substitute for the experience of reading a physical book, but you can carry so many more with you electronically, automatically bookmark, look up words right then and there with minimal effort, etc. The internet is a vast and scary place, but with a little common sense it's not hard to stay in safe areas, and there's so much information available that you could learn ten new things every day and never run out. Even TV has good things, in moderation and with control; Discovery, National Geographic, Animal Planet, the History Channel, all of these are full of knowledge for kids. Sometimes, as is the case for adults, the technology is inherently more accessible. Moderation is the important thing.
Monty Glue
We had no TV at home when I was a child. We "watched" the moon landing in an AM radio. But we had encyclopedias from the 1880s, 1940s, and the 1960s. I read 2 books a day on average for many years and my sister still reads a book a day. That exposure served me well over my entire life.
Steve Cruz
A prior boss adopted four kids. She limited screen time by not providing each kid with their "own phone." There were several phones on chargers -- some nicer than others -- and as kids finished their morning chores, they got to choose a phone for the day. If they broke a phone, they didn't get a phone for several months. She had two computers in the dining room on a side table -- where everyone in the house could see what was being searched and watched. And she had no cable TV. Her kids knew their situation was different from other kids, but that's just how their house was.
志文 楊
Ilona is the idiots
Daniel Wang
This comment has been deleted.
志文 楊
So reading is good but tech is bad? Er... I read on my phone as well as paper books so... Which category am I in?
Christina Sersif
All those kids!?! Geez! I’m sorry whenever I see anyone with more than 2 kids I immediately get judgy. We are waaaaay overpopulated and you’re contributing to the problem.
Marcellus the Third
The whole idea of 'screen time' made sense up to the 90s, where a kid would just consume TV. Now, that or watching Youtuub funnies or scrolling instagram is that kind of brain-dead 'screentime'; but minecraft projects, cooperative gaming, puzzlesolving, a trawl through wikipedia, using a drawing app, or watching how-to videos on Youtube are a wholly different thing.
Lenka Smetanová
Its not about banned 'screens' is about parenting. If you think that tablets make children grumpy you are wrong. Modern technology is something what you must work with just like with the books
Mr. Re-in-act-ment
Omg one hour did that to them? Seriously lady you had a problem with your children if they threw a fit over the one hour they’ve had probably as a rule ever since they’ve had an iPad.
Donna Reynolds
Imagination and wonder. A library.
Donna Leske
So - the above two parents are the ones that allow their children to handle books for sale in stores. These are not thrift shops, those books are intended to be sold NEW, often as gifts. Of course YOUR KIDS inflict no wear or damage to books - it's someone else's kids. A responsible parent takes their kids to the library and stays with them. Kids should not be unsupervised in stores nor libraries. ("I told them to go look at the toys while I was in line at the returns counter..." do you have any idea how many children go MISSING just in the USA every year? According to the FBI, in 2018 there were 424,066 NCIC entries for missing children.)
ok boomer
Cristian Hain
ok boomer
"we did not stage this photo" ok molly. Television and Internet are not bad. Who's bad are parents with shitty parenting. She should learn to educate her children about the importance of excesses and reading without having to limit them to things she thinks are only right
Joel Blazquez Sargatal
Balance is the key. No need to ban completely anything. Also, five kids? You did not have a TV either? No Game of Thrones fan? Take up a hobby :D
All 20 year old me got from this is pity for how many times she had to give birth... ouch
Beezel Palomar
Yeah, she needs a hobby to stop reproducing.
Lindsay Ameye
She has way too many kids
志文 楊
But Ilona this bastard is more shameful to make a joke movie with Godzilla.
Add a Comment