We are trying something new thinking about our family and how we use our devices, most notably our iPhones. We all have enabled Screen Time on our devices and we are doing a weekly Family Screen Time Review. We just did our first review which went really well. We are making it up as we go. We decided to do two things, taking turns through the family at each step, parents first then kids.

  1. Share key data about our screen time. No judging, just data. How much on average did we use our phones. How many pickups did we have. What apps and websites we spent the most time on. The thought is for this to just be sharing and data.
  2. Highlight a surprise or insight. After we have all shared our data we then share a highlight or insight that we took from our data. The intent again is that this is reflecting on you, not on other peoples data. Mine for example was surprise that I spent so much time on a particularly website. During this step, we might take a further step of creating a rule or limit that will help curb that in the future.

This first week I had spent 2h 43m on average per day on my phone. My most frequently used apps were Safari, Unread and Mail. I averaged 55 pickups a day. My insight or surprise was that I spent 2h 5m on the New York Times website that week. That was more than I would want to spend. So, I created a rule to limit that website to 20m a day.

The review was pretty easy, took about 15 minutes and had plenty of laughs as well as everyone went through their data. There was some pride in high and low numbers. At worst, we gained awareness and had a discussion about the relationship with our devices. At best, we created some structure to help guide us in the future as well.

I think a key part of this needs to maintain a shared introspection. Not judging other peoples data or creating rules for them. Instead, having a dialogue and leading by example for our kids. I’m looking forward to doing a few more of these.