I have been told that the best messages we share are those that come from the heart and are personal. This specific topic hits home with me because I love technology and and use it often…cue the song from NapoleonDynamite as Kip sings “I love technology”.
But seriously, I have found myself once in a while checking my social media sites or texting another person on my phone and then I look up to discover one of my children had been telling me something and I completely missed it.
Are you missing it to?
I’m not a hypocrite here, I am equally guilty. Technology is awesome in that it brings our big world so much closer and we can communicate to so many different people in it. But what are we sacrificing when these “tools” become our whole world or our one obsession?
We rush home from church on Sunday and instead of a nice family meal where actual talking takes place, we instead grab our tablet devices, video game consoles, cell phones a quick bite to eat and we’re all off in separate rooms practically living separate lives. It’s sad but are we missing out on relationships that actually matter?
Are we looking at the broad forest, which is the internet and all of the social media connections out there, while we completely lose out on these trees and their decaying roots (our families) right in front of us?
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that these things are inherently evil or bad, it’s just how we choose to use and sometimes abuse them. Technology is bringing the world to us but is it pushing our families away from us as well? Is there a balance that we can find?
Here are three suggestions to help with our over indulgence of technology. I also plan on utilizing this in my own life and with my own family as well:
1) Have a family meeting
Sit down together without any distractions of televisions or any other electronic device. Discuss your concerns with your kids and your spouse. Share the desire to spend more quality time with them without being distracted. Allot time to be on devices and online, but also carve out specific times in the week that you go “device free”…parents this includes you too!
If it helps (and you’re that OCD) post a schedule on the refrigerator or in another prominent place where every family member can see it.
2) Dinner Nights
Depending on how busy you are, ensure that there are specific nights (perhaps every week night) where you sit down at the dinner table and have dinner together. BUT: do not allow devices at the dinner table! Perhaps even turn off the television if that is a distraction to your families and your conversations. Communication is so important! We don’t often realize how much we miss out on when our eyes are not focused on the one who is talking. We miss the non-verbal language which includes body language and facial expressions. Put the devices away for dinner and start talking to each other. Those devices and those “online” conversations will be there when you get back, they aren’t going anywhere.
3) Go a week without.
This probably seems drastic to you…it does to me as well. I was very reluctant to recommend this. I am still leery of such a proposition. A technology fast seems improbable in our tech-savvy/tech saturated world. Yet what would happen if we tried to simply put the devices down for a week? Could we do it? Are we THAT addicted? Why does it create such consternation in us (admittedly me)? You know the old adage about addiction, addicts refuse to admit they have a problem. Has technology become an unhealthy addiction you? Do you find yourself checking status’ on facebook and other social sites more than a few minutes an hour? Perhaps then there is some merit to going a week without these things.
We can use the excuse that we need them for work, and rightly so. But don’t try and rationalize away your usage of devices while on a fast if it isn’t “work” related. Take a break. Get away. Go outside. Go for a ride.
No Excuses just love!
Spend time with those that truly matter to you! Don’t neglect them or come to regret that you “weren’t there” later on in your life. Technology is great, but so is your family! Use tech as a tool a means to connect but don’t let it consume and separate those that matter most to you!
-Just something else to ponder today!