This is the year of social media cut backs for our family.

I’m not really sure where the idea came from.

Maybe it was when I realized no one really talked in the car any more.

Maybe it was when I looked around at all those blinking phones.

Maybe it was when my daughter texted me from the next room.

Whatever.  Whyever.  However.

Those screens needed to be put in their place.

So we established rules.

No screens at the dinner table.

No screens after nine o’clock at night.

No screens at restaurants or family get-togethers or before your homework is done or when your mother is trying to tell you about her amazing day.

Put down the electronics, we said.  Run.  Play outside.  Take the dogs for a walk.  Talk to your sisters and brothers.

Be all the you that you were meant to be without a screen to distract you.

The other day, one of the twins came in, announced she was going for a run and took off towards the back meadow.

I almost jumped for joy.

I couldn’t believe it.

A no-screen run in the country.

It’s working, I thought.  The whole ‘put the screens down and embrace nature thing’ is actually making a difference.

I was still humming and patting myself on the back, when ten minutes later my husband came into the kitchen.

“What’s going on in the back yard?” he asked me quizzically. “Why is Westleigh walking around talking to herself?”

“She’s running,” I told him excitedly.  “And it was all her idea.”

“Those screen cutbacks are the best idea we ever had,” I whispered to him.

“She’s outside all right.  But she’s doing way more talking than running,” he said with a smile as he left the room.

A few minutes later, Westleigh came into the kitchen, grinning from ear to ear.

“That was fun, mom,” she said. “It’s so pretty outside.”

I handed her a water bottle.  “I’m so glad,” I grinned.  “Nature is wonderful.”

“Yep,” she nodded.  “And the best part?  I spent the whole time talking to my friends on Facebook live while I was walking.”

“What?” I said startled.  “You were on screens outside?  You were talking to your friends in the back yard?”

She looked at me with an exasperated look.  “Of course I did,” she said with her hands on her hips.  “How else would any one know I was exercising?”


A nature Facebook live?


Good thing we put those screens in their place. 🙂

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  1. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Oh, haha. That is priceless. But good for you for setting boundaries on screen time. We all have to start somewhere. I think it's sad when we go out and I see a family more interested in their phone screens than talking to each other. I leave my phone at home when we go out. *gasp* I know, right? ;) Have a wonderful, less-screen filled day!

  2. Image for Trena Cable Trena Cable

    That's hilarious! I love the No Screens idea. I hate going out to eat and see a couple sitting intimately together and looking at their phones with no conversation. Really? My husband and I make a point to keeping our phones off for just that reason. Thanks for the smile. :)

  3. Image for Anne Porter Anne Porter

    From one of your "older" followers, I offer this encouragement...keep on keeping your "screens" in proper perspective, dear one! There is so much to SEE in our world; so much UNDERSTANDING to glean from LOOKING AROUND and into the eyes of much To NOTICE and to LEARN; none of which is found on a screen!!! And I thought your news today was going to be about window screens......what was I thinking????

  4. Image for Rose Rose

    I remember one day after my husband & I retired we were sitting in his office. He turned to me and said - "When did we become our children" I answered him "what do you mean" he looked at us, and said we have been sitting in here for 3+ hrs and on our computers - When the girls would come home that is all they did - it seemed. It's hard to put these things down - you go from one site to the next and then the light becomes dimmer and you say - time to do something today and plug your computer back in to charge again. Have a wonderful day. Much love, Rose

  5. Image for Taste of France Taste of France

    That is hilarious. We have many rules about screens and electronics. Bedrooms are off limits. So is the dinner table. Not allowed on school nights. But still, it's too much. I don't set a great example--working from home with people from around the world means I have to get up for conference calls at 3 a.m. and constantly check my email. There is no time when I am not potentially working, and work is hard enough to get that I can't afford to miss an email or a call.

  6. Image for Michelle Michelle

    When I first read 'put screens in their place,' of course I thought we were going to discuss window screens...LOL. Silly me! I think more families need to start putting screens in their place and establishing rules about when and where electronics should be used. Based on what I observe with my own kids and their families, I'm disappointed that they spend so little time doing things as simple as eating a meal together (but that's mostly because of the grandkids' involvement in sports) or engaging each other in day-to-day conversation. Even the parents are guilty. No one in the household is more than a foot away from their phones at any given time. So, I've decided to share your post with the parents. Hopefully, it will help them glean some perspective that these electronics need to be regulated around family time, and not the other way around. I say we start a movement to put screens in their place!

  7. Image for Ann Krucek Ann Krucek

    I'm with Michelle, above!! I thought you were talking about window screens!! I have one I need to re-screen - so I thought Yea! But I enjoyed this post much more than window screens! My kids were just on the verge of the whole cell phone/tablet thing when they left for college so I really didn't have an issue with it- it helped us stay engaged with them while they were at school. Now that they are older - My daughter is dead set against handing her cell phone over to her toddler and asked us all not to buy a toy cell phone for him. My boys are teachers and spend a lot of time taking phones away from their students!!! While they have many upsides, there is a time and place and real conversation is becoming an art form! Nice post!!!

  8. Image for Jere Jere

    Kerianne, I read the first part of your today's blog and I said "At last a parent has awakened" I am ninety years old and in the "Olden Days" Social had a much different meaning. and there was no media except radio. There was hopscotch,jump rope, red rover, roller skates..oh how healthy we were with so much fresh air. Rain? monopoly. books, and more books. Bored was not mentioned. So much fun and we all survived with memories galore. Wonder if the Facebook and Twitter memories will last? Jere

  9. Image for Janice Stewart Janice Stewart

    Ha, I thought this was going to be about house window screens with spring Is there a post about how you built your pergola?

  10. Image for sandi sandi

    You tickle my funny bone but in a serious vein---you are not only a gifted writer & a pretty face, but a great mom! keep up the battle. I also want to know about the pergola!

  11. Image for Kris Kris

    I not only have a middle schooler, but I teach Sunday School and volunteer in youth group with middle school kids. The kids who don't haul their phones out every other second (or, gasp, don't have them at all ... ) are consistently the more mature young people. They have better social skills, can attend to a discussion better, and overall are more fun to be with because I'm not fighting with their media fascination, but rather engaging with them. Keep up the fight, KariAnne.

  12. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Hilarious! I feel your pain...we are losing the lost art of intimate communication face to least she WAS exercising!! Hahaha keep on holding to those rules! They are great ones. ;)

  13. Image for Colleen Colleen

    Hmm..well gee..who pays for those "screens"? Mom and dad I'm thinking, right? Simple solution? YOU JUST TAKE THEM AWAY! Easy Peasey! I would never give that a second thought.

  14. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Yep! I thought window screens. Boy, I'm sure screaming my age. But I do agree with you when it comes to the electronic devices. But boy, your daughter sure did have a good excuse. How can you argue with it? So "screens" refer to electronics. Hmmmmm. I'll have to file that away. Have a wonderful day! Hugs!

  15. Image for june june

    Love this story. You tell such great stories. I remember the first time my oldest received a text during dinner hour...Christmas Eve to be exact. When he took his phone out of his pocket and responded...I will never forget the look on his grandmothers face nor the reaction by both my husband and I. Who in the world would he text and who would even consider texting it's Christmas Eve...Family time for heaven's sake. Well...later during that college break we learned about this girl named Michele from college. Turns out she was the one texting...funnier thing she did not realize where we lived but knew we lived in the same town as her aunt. She just wanted to wish him Merry Christmas. Should have known by the way he lite up that night she was the one:) What neither of them realized for almost six months is that Michele was literally across the street from our house but down the hill behind our neighbors house. We joke now that they could have stepped outside on that snowy night and shouted Merry Christmas to each other. I say now because yes...they fell in love and we love her to pieces. They were married 8 months ago. I am looking forward to the first time one of their children text and we are having dinner...I will have a story to tell them.

  16. Image for gina gina

    So glad the girls seem to be doing great! I wanted to share with you that the other day I was in my neighborhood grocery store and I happen to pick up the spring issue of Magnolia Journal volume 2. While scanning through it, I was thrilled to see you made the issue! There on the last page, your honeycomb wall was featured in the Frog tape ad! I was thrilled! The three of us in the same place at the same time: you, Joanna and me! Well, in spirit anyway!

  17. Image for Holly Holly

    This totally brought a smile to my face! But hey, better outside and on the screen than inside, right? And maybe sharing it with her friends inspired them to get outside, too!

  18. Image for Nancy @ Slightly Coastal Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    Too funny! We are having the same battle at my house. I knew it was bad when my oldest had a friend over and they sat facing each other playing a board game on their phones with each other. We had the real board game in the closet but they said they would rather play it on their phones. That doesn't even make sense to me. Whatever. N

  19. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    Isn't it funny that social media has given us all the impression that we need to share or provide proof for every little thing we do during our day, adults and kids are getting sucked in big time. Look world, I ate this, I bought that, I think this or I think that.... I think it's okay to walk in the door and say "I was awesome today". bam. drop the mic. done. not a single picture to prove it or explanation needed. ;) Ahh, the good old days!

  20. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Good for you, Mom! None of us are immune to "screen" addiction. At my "advanced" age, I thought it would not be a problem, but I fight it all the time. I can sit down in front of my computer for a moment, just to check something out, and end up losing hours! It's a worthy battle, keep it up!

  21. Image for susan st.john susan st.john

    Electronics are addictive. There are many great things about them, for sure. However, we are isolating ourselves from each other. I drive to my job as a teacher and see students, standing with a family member and the adult is looking at their screen. Goodness! Your kid will be leaving soon, can't you wait? I am so glad that my kids were much older just when this all came down. As I said, there is much good, but this is another issue that parents have to monitor. Good luck. We all have to remember, your children aren't with you for that long. When you're in the middle of it, it is overwhelming, but they move out and away all too soon.

  22. Image for Preppy Mountain Farmer Preppy Mountain Farmer

    This story is all too familiar to me. Good for you for setting up those screens; unfortunately, they require near constant monitoring to enforce. We, too, have many limits on screen time, but it feels like an uphill battle in the current culture. Even I catch myself checking messages on my phone or tablet more than I like to admit. It's hard to imagine that only 15-20 years ago if people wanted to reach us, they would have to call our home phone and leave a voice message. And we would get to it when we had time. Now we're annoyed or concerned if the other party doesn't immediately reply to our texts. I am giving serious consideration to going on an Internet fast one day a week. Not sure I can convince any other family members to join me though. Keep persevering, Karianne, and keep us posted.

  23. Image for Sherry Justus Sherry Justus

    I have begun the search for a "safe router" after a local detective came and shared at our school about the hidden dangers of social media. I'm wondering if you have any insight into this?

  24. Image for Sarah Pacheco Sarah Pacheco

    What a great start! :) Is there a tutorial on the making of the beautiful garden in the photos? It's wonderful! How did you get the sides so perfect? Edging? The design just makes me say "Ah!"

  25. Image for Sue @ Home Heart Harmony Sue @ Home Heart Harmony

    How amazing is it that you have a 90 year old leaving a comment about a blog post relating to phones and social media?!! We had a huge family row last night about screen time so today is the day that I'm going to re-set those rules. Wish me luck! Thanks for the laugh ? Xx

  26. Image for Ann C Ann C

    I was thinking sure she can get rid of her window screens she lives in bug- free weather. I'm in my 60s and have a set of seven friends, my age and older, who get together every Tuesday for breakfast. Several of them pull out their phones and sit there and text while we are visiting. It makes me feel like we aren't as important or that she'd rather be somewhere else. Just don't have the nerve to say anything. Thanks for good parenting. We all benefit.

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