Family Fun

Technology Time-Out

  • Morning baths are some of my favorite moments with the boys. A fresh new day before everything starts  — quiet, sunny, slow.
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Visiting with family is the best way to reset my personal clock. My mom came to town last week and we got caught-up with playing together. Whether or not you noticed the lack of posts; it wasn’t my intention to go missing  — more like a spontaneous decision to take a complete technology time-out…

And all the demands that come with it.

The last time the boys and I were at the park, I saw a group of friends (no older than 10) all sitting on top of the monkey bars, feet dangling between the rings, heads bowed staring at their mini smart phone screens. All of them frozen together; not playing with the company around them but engaging virtually with those far away. For the first time in my life, I felt old. Growing up, the closest thing to technology was playing Frogger on a giant arcade machine (joystick style, remember?) in the waiting room at the dentist’s office. Times have changed.

Texting, twitter, instagram, facebook, pinterest, tumblr, yada… yada… yikes.

Technology’s virtual mouths are CONSTANTLY asking to be fed, awake 24 hours a day – 365 days a year, always wanting more…

And here’s the reality: they’ll NEVER be satisfied.

In essence, they’re disguised as babies that constantly demand attention over our real ones.

Don’t believe me?

Who do we physically carry around with us more? Our smart devices are attached to our bodies like another appendage.

How many hours are spent surfing rather than playing? Countless hours collecting good ideas for someday isn’t as good as making memories today.

When the ding from a social app/text that interrupts a child’s question and takes priority. Do we respond with a “uh-huh” pretending we’re listening?

Or what about using the time in the car? The kids are buckled in, there’s a few minutes to spare, and it seems like the perfect time to make a phone call. But what conversations are missed with our little ones?

Certainly we don’t text and drive. But what about at the red lights? That’s different, right? We can answer a quick email, respond to a quick text. What excuse will we give our teenagers when they say, but you do it too.

The picture that begs to be “liked” or commented on. We’re just trying to be good supportive friends, of course. But who should be our best friends? Who needs our focused support the most? The picture can remain silent a little longer.

Will our children grow-up measuring their lives based on virtual popularity?

When the child runs up eagerly and excited asking to play; but instead of seeing a loving face, sees the backside of a cell phone. What does that say? I’m looking at something more important, “Hold on a minute.” You can wait. No. Whatever we aren’t doing with our children, can wait.

A lot of these scenarios take place unintentionally. As parents, the love of our children supersedes all else.

But at the end of the day our personal “distractions” can tell our children otherwise.

Some of my friends tease, ‘How do you do it all?’ And my answer is, I don’t.

It’s not humanly possible to do all the most important things… let alone have time for the ones that aren’t as important.

Please don’t misunderstand me. Modern technology can be good and uplifting — enhancing our lives, rather than detracting.

I don’t know where I’d be without FaceTime to call family that’s far away. I’ve grown more than I ever could’ve imagined as a result of blogging and sharing what I love. It’s encouraging to know I can stay continually connected with lifelong friends: to see their families, to hear their stories, to learn from their experiences, and share in their lives no matter the distance.

And it’s all thanks to technology.

As a blogger, it’s a given I’ve chosen to include technology in our lives. Yes, I even caved and started instagramming. But, finding the balance in a technological world is a constant battle I have to consciously fight or I’ll subconsciously lose.

I think it’s a matter of moderation, personal perspective, setting some rules as a family, and sticking to them (which truth be told, I’ve yet to master).

For me, that means:

Be always present with the people who are physically with me.

Have a plan for each day and the activities we’ll share together.

Phone ringer is off and set to vibrate always. Sometimes I hear the phone; most of the time I don’t (can be annoying for Ryan to reach me). ha!

Computer volume is muted.

When at home, my phone stays in a set location. If I leave the room, my phone doesn’t come with me (but yes, you’re right… I run and grab it when I need to capture a picture or two).

Check updates at set times throughout the day.

Set a time limit (even with a timer, if needs be) for how long I can stay online.

Blog only while the boys sleep.

Set aside concentrated “mommy & me time” with each child, each day.

Acknowledge the small moments that matter most – seeing the beauty and joy in the every day little things.

Case and point — the day my mom left, I decided to keep our day restful and fully focused on the boys. It was non-stop play. I have to say, it was one of the best days we’ve had, as far as good behavior goes.

It’s a matter of being present in the present — to allow our children and our experiences to take precedence over the unimportant demands of a technological life. An old adage says it perfectly, “Today is a gift. And that’s why it’s called the present.”


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