Time to Unplug: 5 Tips to Stop Technology From Taking Over Your Family
I love technology. Admittedly, I probably love it a little too much. I am definitely not at the point where I would flip out in the WiFi in my home stopped working, but I would be pretty annoyed. You see, I have a 9-5 job, plus I blog and write for a number of websites. Life without access to the internet is a challenge. I tweet, I update FB status, I pin photos, and I am finally catching up when it comes to this world of Instagram. It’s a lot.
Two day ago, however, I lost my cell phone. I was on a road trip with my family and I think I dropped it at a rest stop. I almost got upset. I loved that phone. But then I came to my senses and realized that it’s just a phone. An object. Truly, there was no need to get upset. The most important things on the phone were pictures and videos of my kids and all of that stuff was backed up.
I think losing my phone was the universe’s way of reminding me that I needed to unplug. I don’t need to be connected during every moment of my day. Some time away from the technology can be a good thing (and it was). I decided to just chill out for the rest of the day and I didn’t even rush to get a new phone the next morning. I enjoyed a day free of my smart phone. That evening I made it to the store just before closing and I got a new phone. Losing my phone turned out to be a good thing. It really made me think long and hard about my technology usage and how it affects my life.
This experience has truly reminded me that learning how to unplug is critical. We get so caught up with our devices that family time just isn’t what it needs to be. Smart phones and tablets are either in our hands, or always within reach. It really is doing something to how families connect with each other.
Here are a few tips to help you and your family disconnect so you can reconnect.
Keep Smart phones away from the kitchen. Many of us tend to keep our phones in the kitchen or close to it. Don’t do it. That’s how it ends up at the dinner table, or becomes a distraction while your kids are trying to ask you a question or tell you about their day. Just keep it out of designated family spaces – particularly when everyone is home.
Leave smart phones and other devices out of bedroom. I am guilty of this. My smart phone is always on my nightstand, and sometimes My iPad is there too. I am now on a mission to keep the devices in another room. I have a landline at home and there truly is no reason for that smart phone to be so close to me at night.
Designate an “unplugged” day in your household. Pick a day where no one in the home is allowed to use a computer (including tablets) or a smart phone. It you want to really have an impact, do it once a week, but if that seems too tough at first, pick a day or a whole weekend out of the month and give it a shot. I would even recommend trying a week free of television. I have done it before and it truly is refreshing. It clears your mind.
Establish usage restrictions for yourself. Tell yourself that you just won’t respond to emails, text messages or phone calls after a certain time. Maybe you can’t do this every single day because of the nature of your job (or because you have a couple of side hustles your try to manage at night, like I do), but at least try to restrict your late night device usage to a few times a week.
Turn your devices off sometimes. They don’t have to always be on. When you get out of the car, turn it off. Or maybe you can just turn it off before bed and turn it back on when you get ready to leave the house the next morning. Either way, give your devices some time to rest so that you can rest, too.