Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Monitoring Screen Time and Other Media

I shared with you during my review of Captivated The Movie how we were concerned about the amount of media Gess was absorbing.  It truly was affecting her behavior.  After one outburst we put her on a 30 day media fast, inspired by the movie.  For 30 days Gess had no computer time, no video games, no television, and very limited exposure to music.  During that time we saw a tremendous improvement in both her behavior and habits.  She has learned once again to enjoy the thrills of reading and creativity, things she usually loves.

Having a daughter with special needs it is really important to me to not only limit her media intake but find a way to help her learn how to self monitor those habits.  For now we have made a visual monitoring system.  It isn't the prettiest thing in the world but we went with materials we already had around the house. 

We chose to use colored clothes pins clipped to a board which explains the value of each one.  I envisioned large coins but I didn't feel like making them.  You crafty people can have fun with this I am sure.  Then she decorated a coffee can and each time she wants to use media she has to put a clothes pin in the can. I have called the clothes pins "media clips."  We keep the can near us and require permission before she can spend them.  Below are the amounts we started her with.

6 green clips - each clip is worth 30 minutes of any media type
3 yellow clips - each clip is worth 20 minutes of music

I was originally going to just use the green ones but I don't mind if Gess has music a little more often, especially since she has only approved music in her selection.  However, she does tend to get obsessed with it sometimes and will play the same CD or even the same single song over and over again.  Now when she has her 20-30 minutes of music (she can use a green clip for music too) she gets to choose 1 CD.  That's it.  For that time that is all she gets.  The next time we make her choose a different one.

We re-introduced her media using this method this past Saturday.  So far in four days she has used 2 music clips and 2 media clips for the computer.  My goal was to make sure that she has at least some days media free, so I may have to cut back on the amount of her clips.  My original thinking was that since we homeschool she might choose media in the afternoon when we complete lessons and chores and another in the evening.  However with the weather being so nice she has enjoyed being outdoors during that time.  I also think that since she has recently gone without any media for 30 days she has learned to simply enjoy time without media!

If you missed my review of Captivated The Movie you might want to check it out to learn more. I found it very educational and beneficial.  Here is the trailer again, in case you missed it. 

Captivated - Trailer from Media Talk 101 on Vimeo.

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