My Parents Used A ‘Hard Reset’ To Get Me To Stop Staring At Screens And Start Reading And Going Outside

Chris Lynam recalls when his parents decided to give away their tv and instead give him and his siblings a box of books to read.

by Chris Lynam
Originally Published: 

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How do I get my 2-year-old to stop using screens all the time?

Have you heard the expression ‘Hard Reset’?

One summer, after my parents finally caved in, we had cable. This was a big deal. We had everything a 1980s kid would want TV-wise. And then the unthinkable happened.

Not only was the cable gone… the TV was gone too. As an 8-year-old kid, I immediately went to the most likely conclusion: it was a burglary!


We looked everywhere for answers. We found them in the garage. Our Mom was there, unloading boxes.

“Where’s the TV?” We asked

“We sold it,” she said.

After a minor nuclear meltdown….

“Why?” We asked.

“It’s summer. If you want to stay inside, you can look at these.” She motioned to the boxes.

Inside was the greatest collection of classic books you could imagine: Peter Pan, Tom Sawyer, you name it.

“You can play outside, or you can read.”

Flickr / Brendan C.

Now, I’d like to say that I read the entire collection that summer as an 8-year-old literary prodigy. What I did do is play outside every live-long day. We put more mileage our bikes than most paperboys, we went on hikes, chased the ice cream man, and had a failed attempt at our first garage sale (selling the old books).

Eventually, my siblings and I found 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and many more classics. We were hooked. We came closer together. The ‘Hard Reset’ gave us the best summer we’d ever had. That fall, my parents split up. We took it hard, but it didn’t break us. We had bonded through the stories, games, bikes, forts, and activity together.

No TV, even with cable, could have matched that. I’d recommend a ‘Hard Reset.’ The rewards outweigh the risk… by about 20,000 Leagues.

Chris Lynam is a father of 3, and the creator of #DADventure. He writes about parenting, relationships, and fitness. You can read more from Quora here:

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