Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.

~ Mother Teresa

Smart Technology enriches our lives in many ways. It helps us get messages, emails, Facebook posts and appointments the quickest we’ve ever been able to navigate the Internet. We can use it to watch our favorite programming for hours on end and find new favourites based on our watching algorithms. One could argue that SMART technology makes us more effective and less effective depending on the situation. If we are constantly dialled into a screen and not making the most of our time together as friends and family the technology is not moving us forward. Relationships require real “FaceTime” and we should encourage the youth in our sphere of influence to spend quality (no tech zone) time with friends and family. SMART is knowing when to utilize the convenience and fun of technology and knowing when to put it aside for the sake of our well-being. When you set limits with children, Dr. Lasser says, kids can start learning how to self-regulate and know when screen time is interfering too much with the rest of their lives. (

Families have the fun of figuring out how to make space for “no tech zones” and as their children internalize this concept they reproduce the concept in the lives of their friendships.

These are important days in the spiritual formation of our youth.

We want to encourage families to do all they can to engage with their children and youth about what is important on this journey. The smartest thing our kids can choose is to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and strength. May we seek out ways to spend meaningful and anticipated real time together as a family to nurture faith in the context of those family relationships.

Parents, grandparents and great-grandparents can have a part in imparting their spiritual “smarts” to the next generation.

Let's do coffee


Marleigh and Marsha are available for a coffee house style presentation and discussion on this issue for schools, churches and community groups.

Are you Spending Meaningful Anticipated Real Time together as a family?




Pillar #1


Set Limits to Screen Time

Setting limits to screen time helps build healthy habits for the future. It is important to create rules and to share these rules with other adults in your child’s life. For your child’s safety when using tablets, computers or phones, look for apps that provide parental controls which can help block sites and enforce time limits.

Screen time for children younger than 2 years is not recommended. For children aged 2 to 5 years, limit routine or regular screen time to less than 1 hour per day. (

It is a rugged landscape parents need to navigate with their children in an age of digital technology. Many families get creative when setting and keeping technology limits for kids. Drawing the lines is the easy part but keeping them consistent is a major task for family life. There are so many important and imperative reasons to be a guard on the wall every day with kids of all ages. There are potential dangers from very young children (babies) with the issues changing with the development of the child all the way to teenage years.

With young children the dangers can be in the actual brain development. As children/adolescents grow the content they can access, the constant attachment even to friends can be too much for the developing youth. Limits and boundaries are the only way to instill health into a digital technology age. The good news is there are many ideas and support for families raising children in the digital age.

Pillar #2


Be a good example

Set a good example by modeling healthy screen time habits. Cell phones and other devices take your attention away from your child which can be dangerous. Your child is more likely to act-out in order to get your attention when you are distracted. Engaging your child using play and books is better for your child’s brain and social development than screens. (

Modeling for our kids can be difficult. Adults may have more “work related” or what are considered “more pressing” matters to check on their phone etc. However, as the advice from Health Canada suggests technology can distract us from the basic care of children to engaging in their emotional needs. We see all kinds of models in the culture. The adults who observe boundaries with their technology and then the pendulum swinging all the way the other direction with no boundaries observed. As adults these are decisions, we make for ourselves with or without intentionality.

Concern and care for the young people in our sphere of influence is a powerful responsibility. Their growing up years go by quickly and how we care for them forms them in real time.

Pillar #3


So many things to do

While there is much to be learned and drawn from technology there are many other ways to gather knowledge and build into our families: conversations, reading books, playing games and doing activities together. We are surrounded by healthy alternatives to enjoy with the people we love.

Waterfall discoveries, local hikes, summer/fall festivals, sports, camping and so much more for families to consider as they look to becoming a SMART family – one that interacts together. These alternatives are proven to encourage healthy sleep patterns, better diet and positive in person socialization.

Having media in the bedroom is associated with increasing sedentary time, obesity risk, cardiometabolic risk, lower PA rates and shorter sleep duration [10]
(Canadian Pediatric Society, 2019) Building relationships with kids/teens in the great outdoors, over board games, personal and team sports, road trips just help to reinforce the “other” things there are to do besides screen time.