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A simple guide to balancing screens and spirituality

SCREEN TIME

Alexander Dummer | Unsplash

Daniel Esparza - published on 02/03/24

Technology is here to stay, and it’s not inherently bad. If we use it wisely, we can create a proper lifestyle that is both enriching and engaging for our families.
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Spain has just banned the use of cell phones in schools. And while some applaud the decision, others say that what children really need is not a ban, but proper education on how to choose the content they read and the applications they use — in a word, they need to learn how to discern. Indeed, there is a growing awareness that we are navigating a digital minefield. This is even truer if we want our children to develop a certain kind of spiritual sensibility — sadly, screens are often the most seductive choice.

Integrating technology into a healthy Catholic lifestyle can feel like walking a tightrope: one has to struggle to maintain balance in this technology-driven world. Here, we share five tips on how to try to maintain some balance between spirituality and the omnipresent screen.

1
FAITH AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

Believe it or not, technology can be a powerful tool for strengthening your faith.Catholic apps offer daily prayers, Bible readings, and even virtual tours of holy sites. You can even try making bedtime prayers an interactive experience with animated stories about the saints. Also, online communities connect us with other Catholics, fostering a sense of belonging and shared purpose.

2
MODERATION IS KEY

Like any good thing, too much screen time can be harmful. Set clear boundaries. Instead of mindless swiping, set aside time for faith-based apps and other kinds of educational content: there is a whole world of valuable resources online. Make sure you don’t spend too much time doomscrolling and binge-watching silly videos on your favorite platform. Encourage offline activities such as family time, volunteering, or nature walks. Remember: connection happens mostly face-to-face, and not necessarily through screens.

Family using smartpad on sofa

3
DIGITAL DISCIPLESHIP

Let’s face it: sometimes we get sucked into the online vortex. But, again, instead of demonizing technology, use it as a teaching tool. Discuss the values you are trying to embrace and spread around you: kindness, honesty, respect, faithfulness, accountability. Explore online resources together with your family and friends, critically analyze content, and start meaningful conversations. Remember that we are no longer just watching screens: we are trying to shape a healthy digital environment.

4
TECH-FREE ZONES

We need to create sacred spaces free of digital distractions. Mealtimes become opportunities for conversation and shared stories. Family game nights encourage laughter and connection. Designate bedrooms as tech-free zones to encourage restful sleep and imaginative play. Now, you have to make sure that you are willing to walk the walk: if you want your kids not to be stuck to a screen, you have to actively spend time with them, be willing to read them as many stories as they want and play as many games as they need. It is a lot of work, sure –but it’s a parent’s job.

5
LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Again, preaching is easy. Be mindful of your own screen time. Put your phone down when engaging with your family. Show them the joy of offline activities. If you don’t have an offline hobby, find one (asap!). Remember that you are a role model for your family, and your actions speak louder than words.

Technology is here to stay, and it isn’t inherently bad. If we engage with digital devices wisely, we can create a proper lifestyle that is both enriching and engaging for our families. Let’s embrace the good, manage the bad, and raise children who navigate the digital world with a sense of adventure and purpose. It’s a challenge, but we can do it.

Tags:
Catholic LifestyleMen’s LifestyleParentingTechnology
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