I own a smartphone, as does Mr. Pen. We both have our own computers and Mr. Pen will be receiving a tablet through work that will also be allowed for personal use. Technology has consumed our lives.
I hate to admit how habitual checking my phone is. I check my email, then my text messages, voicemail, facebook, instagram and Hellobee. I have noticed that I don’t even think about it when I instinctively grab my phone to “check it.” But I notice how often Mr. Pen does the same, and I know I must be doing it just as, if not more often than him.
I appreciate technology so much. Life can be easier when I’m able to communicate with someone quickly, check the weather, read the news, etc. all without leaving the couch. In the same way, technology and how we allow it to consume our time, energy and relationships has the potential to corrode important things in life.
It doesn’t take too much self reflection to realize how technology has affected my life negatively:
- I have friends on the internet, but I truly lack relationships in my life.
- In addition, technology complicates what relationships I do have. To elaborate, this is an all too common “issue” I face: “Why haven’t you responded to my text/facebook message/email?! Are you mad at me? What did I do?”
- I now compare my life with those of my “friends” just by way of what they post online: pictures, stories and snippets of their thoughts.
- I spend more time reading about exercising and eating right than I do actually following-through with it.
- I think about what I could/should have, I window shop and start to think I need these things to be happy.
- I become entitled thinking everyone wants to hear my thoughts and opinions voiced through social media, only to realize that I honestly don’t care that much about opinions and thoughts of most people – so why should I assume they care about mine? Yup that’s right – they likely don’t.
- Technology has stolen my time. Rather, I have allowed myself to allow technology to steal my time. Sure, a lot of my internet use is productive: research, relevant parenting articles, staying in contact with out-of-state friends, reading the news, etc.. but probably more of it is spent in a futile manner.
But probably the biggest negative factor that has me saddened is how my 17 month old son has noticed the time spent on our phones/computer. He jumps at the opportunity to snatch our phones and play with them, beg to watch youtube videos, look at pictures, etc.
When Mr. Pen and I first discussed the idea of tech-free days, we realized what our ideal weekend looks like: going to the park together, eating outside and enjoying each other’s company. By allowing our phones to get in the way, we have spent less time as a family. I want to cultivate true relationships and build a firm foundation for our family. Technology can be a great thing when used appropriately, but not as great of a tool when used all day long.
Because of this we decided many months ago to instill Tech-Free Sundays. Sunday is our family day. We strive for Sundays to be just for us. Sure, we’ll attend family events and such, but in general our Sundays are for being together. Our phones are kept on for calls/emergencies, but we don’t check Facebook, text, email, work, etc. This is important to us and has really helped us better manage our time. We better enjoy our time with J and I want him to grow up knowing we value our time with him. We also don’t want him to grow up dependent on TV/Movies, apps, and video games to be entertained and stimulated. Mr. Pen and I both grew up playing with our siblings, building with legos, biking outside and reading books – back before computers were such an integral part of life. We want to keep that element of childhood alive and well with J.
It sure is hard and sometimes I do go to reach for my phone and catch myself. I remember this was a rule for my family growing up too. Sundays my mom said were TV/phone/computer free days; a time just for families. I am glad they made family time a priority as well.
Would you consider a tech-free day for your family?