Hands Free Mama: Overcoming Technology Addiction The Family-Friendly Way

Some time ago, our family sat around the table and discussed Technology Addiction.


My husband and I confessed to our children our particular addictions (which may or may not have something to do with Craigslist and an iPad). The kids shared insightful suggestions on how we might have a more balanced approach with technology, suggestions like:


  • Don’t use it when we’re in the room


  • Use it only at certain times of the day


  • Don’t carry it with you


  • Have tech-free days


Then we ate dessert, which is, of course, the BEST part of Family Night! We had warm fry bread with honey AND a cantaloupe smoothie—because we couldn’t decide between the two. Life is good!


I love you mom


** This post may contain affiliate links. You can find my disclosure HERE.


I’ve always loved this quote by E B White. He spoke of television and radio, but it can easily be applied to all technology:


“I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television — of that I am quite sure.


Television will enormously enlarge the eye’s range, and, like radio, will advertise the Elsewhere. Together with the tabs, the mags, and the movies, it will insist that we forget the primary and the near in favor of the secondary and the remote.


When I was a child people simply looked about them and were moderately happy; today they peer beyond the seven seas, bury themselves waist deep in tidings, and by and large what they see and hear makes them unutterably sad.”



Currently, I’m reading “Hands-free Mama” by Rachel Macy Stafford. To be honest, I postponed reading this book for…ahem…years because I was terrified of the guilt it would place on my shoulders—guilt for neglecting my children in favor of technology. I’m so relieved (and excited!) to share with you that ‘guilt’ is the furthest adjective from my mind when it comes to describing this book. Instead, words such as ‘refreshing’, ‘entertaining’, ’empathic’, and ‘hopeful’ come to mind.

Jam-packed with stories and experiences from her own life, Rachel shares with us her lowest moments and her hopeful highs. She motivates, encourages, and inspires in a way that had me saying, “I’m ready to be a hands-free mama!’ before I even finished Chapter 1. Her suggestions for connecting with your children in authentic ways will put a smile on your face and, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself thinking, “Why didn’t I think of that?” as you furiously begin planning tech-free activities in your head.


This book wasn’t anything I thought it would be.


It is, in one word, ‘life-changing’.


**Buy this life-changing book here with one click!** Having recently gone through some personal difficulties, I’m looking for a way to support my little family and would appreciate you purchasing the book from my site if you feel so inclined. Every little bit helps and our family would be so grateful if you did so. Thank you!


(You’ll want to own your own copy so you can highlight ideas, underline entire paragraphs, and take copious notes in the margins. Trust me!)


Next up on my Reading List are Rachel’s latest books:






How has striving to overcome technology addiction blessed you and your family?


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hands free mama overcoming technology addiction the family friendly way



  • Ellen Mika Zelasko

    Putting this book on my list. I related when you said you’ve avoided books like these because of guilt. It will be nice to hear the message without the guilt. I came into technology along with my kids, and we enjoyed the new stuff together. But now, they check their phones at the door because we all realize what is happening. I like that this book covers how to do it as a family, and your kids had such great suggestions too!

  • Shannon Allen

    This is so eye-opening for so many. We try really hard to be disconnected. One of the things we like to do is go hiking or camping and be tech-free. It’s definitely a problem these days. My teen can hardly walk without checking his phone. We are trying to break his habit but when he is out of sight I don’t know what to do.

  • Windy

    It’s so important when we are with our loved ones that we give them our undivided attention with not picking up our phones. Especially this day and age where everyone puts everything on social media.

  • Anne Sweet

    We use far too much technology in our house and I fully understand why you thought you’d be made to feel guilty. I do like to balance out our tech. time with family time though, although it doesn’t always go to plan.

    Great reads.


  • Gayl

    Thanks for linking up at #LMMLinkup! I have chosen your post as my favorite and will feature it on my blog tomorrow. The way you describe the book sounds good and I hope many visit your blog and find encouragement. Blessings to you!

      • Jennifer

        What a great reminder. we keep technology under a decent amount of control but I’ll admit I’m addicted. I work from my phone alot….meaning I’m usually attached to it and I feel so bad about it. I need to find better balance for me so I can be a better example.

  • Judith Okech

    Technology is quite good. What we do with it betters or worsens our lives in a way. I believe with discipline, 90% of the time we spend on tech is not wasted time. This book can be a good resource for people who can’t just let-off; driving and calling at the same time.

  • Tracy

    Hi there, I found you over at Trekking thru link-up. I too have/am struggling with technology, too much of it, too much time on it, it can be a vicious circle if we don’t learn to manage it. I will certainly look up the book you recommend. It is one of my goals to “read more actual paper” lol
    God bless, great post

  • Susan Evans

    I love the quote about what happens when TV (or any media) takes over our lives so that we are not enjoying the here and now. This is especially important when we have kids in the house, to truly live and be with them rather than each be on a separate computer or tablet.

  • Amy Hagerup

    This is so true. I turn my phone on airplane mode when i am in the car as well as turn it to silent. I know that I still check it way too often though. Great encouraging words.

    • Rebecca @ Busy Mom Smart Mom

      Thanks for this post. I am always on my kids about being on screens but I am on my phone way too much. It didn’t really start until the last few years when I started growing my online business. Now I can’t put it down so I’m not setting much of an example for my kids.

  • Lauren Sparks

    My family is definitely in need of an overhaul in this area. Thanks for posting about this. Visiting you today from holley gerth’s link up. laurensparks.net

    • Down Aspen Lane

      I think it’s safe to say that most families struggle in this area. Thanks for stopping by, Lauren!

  • Sonya

    I’ll have to look this book up! My husband and I have been very aware of our use of technology since going through a special sermon series almost five years ago. It helped us to realize that technology, in all forms, inherently has the ability to cause harm. We’ve personally seen social media in particular cause division in a marriage—it ultimately ended in divorce. We’ve challenged ourselves to limit our usage—like scheduled times during the week and media free weekends. We also do not have a tv in our home. We are intentional to “be present” with one another. It’s been a step by step journey, but one that has been so good for our family and our marriage.

  • Rachel

    Carri, what a great post!! This is an important topic for us in today’s society. We have certain rules in our home, revolving around our “devices.” I admit, it’s probably the most difficult for ME personally to adhere to, considering both my ministry AND my job involve social media, but I try to do my best at leading by example.
    I also loved the Hands Free Mama! I read it several years ago, and it was inspiring! A breath of fresh air!

    • Down Aspen Lane

      I can relate, Rachel. So much is found online these days. I find myself explaining to my kids my time spent online with comments such as, “I’m just checking the bank account, or ordering something from Amazon, or checking the weather.” I don’t want my kids thinking I’m scrolling through Facebook all day when, in reality, so much of life happens online—like ministries and jobs included! Technology—it’s a blessing and a curse. Hahaha

  • sabrina

    I’m certain every person in my house has a problem with technology, and I hate it. I’m going to have to pick up this book! Thank you for sharing.

    • Down Aspen Lane

      It really is a great book, Laura! I hope you find strength and inspiration from reading it.

  • Gayl

    This sounds like a great book for those who struggle with tech addiction, which is probably most of us. I don’t have young children at home any more, but some adult children are here. Between them, me and my husband, we are on our phones and computers a lot. May God give us wisdom and grace to plan our time so that we have plenty of free space without technology. One thing my husband, oldest son and I do is read aloud together. It’s great! Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #Let’sHaveCoffee.

    • Down Aspen Lane

      How wonderful that you read aloud together, Gayl! Doing so is a wonderful way to keep plenty of free space in our lives. I read aloud to my children (it’s one of my favorite things to do!) and feel that no technology on earth can compete with the feelings it stirs inside—peace, contentment, joy. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Julie

    You’ve piqued my interest in this book, I’m going to have to get it!
    I want my kids to remember my presence with them not my hands holding my phone!

    • Down Aspen Lane

      I hope you’ll enjoy the book, Julie. I’m more present with my children (and much happier!) since reading it.

    • Down Aspen Lane

      Gosh—It’s hard to take a good look at ourselves in the mirror and see our weaknesses, but SO worth it when we start reaping the rewards of strengthened relationships. This book made me a better person! I hope you’ll enjoy reading it, Luna.

    • Down Aspen Lane

      If only it were just our children dealing with tech overload, right?! I am just as guilty as they. {sigh} I hope you enjoy the book!

  • Michele Morin

    Even though there are only 8 years between my oldest and my youngest sons, I’m seeing a huge difference in the role technology is playing in our family by comparison. It’s breath-taking, really. And I want to stay ahead of the tidal wave so we can raise one more reader who knows how to use his imagination.

    • Down Aspen Lane

      It’s amazing how much technology has exploded in the last decade, isn’t it, Michele?! We live in a completely different world when it comes to screen time. I love your goal to keep your son’s imagination alive!

  • Lisa

    I am so glad that when I was raising my children we didn’t have a lot of “mobile” technology in our lives. It was difficult enough limiting the time they spent on their PlayStation. I feel for parents in this generation. It’s good that there are those out there trying to help with this addiction.

    • Down Aspen Lane

      Ahhh…the good ol’ PlayStation! That brings back memories…and good ones…of simpler times. Glad you didn’t have to wrestle so much with screen time when your children were younger, Lisa. I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with it when I was younger either. Fortunately, with tools like this book, there is hope for this generation that is combatting technology overload. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Down Aspen Lane

      You’ll be glad you did, Missy! It truly is life-changing. I enjoy your blog and am so sorry for the loss of your son.

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