I do love technology and the changes it has made to my life. I can do lots of work from home and still be around for my kids. I can keep in contact with friends and family with very minimal effort. My kids benefit form the changes to learning and education. I have made great connections online that have resulted in great real life friendships. But. Sometimes I don’t like it so much. Sometimes it annoys me that it is another thing to nag about. It annoys me that it makes my kids grow up and see things before I want them to. It frustrates me that people can say things online they wouldn’t in real life. It makes me sad when I see people on it ALL the time.
So that is why I am going to Disconnect to Reconnect this Mothers Day weekend.
I need to make sure that myself and my kids get the balance right….or at least get a better balance.
Here are 4 reasons why I think we should all have a time to switch off and disconnect…….
Help with Time Limits
I have said it before and I will continue to nag it as my number one boundary to have regarding technology. Time limits are so important to help us all avoid so many different pitfalls. If we have time away and switch off all together, we are able to remind ourselves that we can get by without it. We can find other things to do and enjoy them too. We can connect with people on a different level. We can really be present.
Get in the trackies
Now I don’t wear trackies very often, and actually not in public unless I am participating in exercise. However I use the analogy of that feeling of getting home, taking off the heels, or the tight jeans and getting into something comfy and relaxing on the couch. That feeling of not caring who will see you means you can let it all hang out a bit. That’s how I think we need to feel with our online habits. When it comes to young people particularly, we know they feel ‘switched on’ socially all the time. They have to be present, ready for a selfie, ready to withstand the comments and feedback and friend requests and likes. Sometimes we all need a time to just ‘not care’ who is watching.
Find a new interest: its good to be bored
Last time I made my kids do this, my kids learnt how to play chess. They now have a great skill that they otherwise probably wouldn’t have had. If we are forced to look outside the square we may just find there are other pursuits waiting for us to explore. I could even pick up that guitar again…..
Remember the real life connections
Now I know the situation isn’t in such dire straits that our social skills are packing up and leaving us altogether! It is important however, that we make ourselves truly present for each other. We need to sometimes remind ourselves to really listen. Not just mumbling an answer whilst you are in the middle of typing a blog post or answering an email. We need to take the time to listen and not just hear, and to look at each other without having one eye on a screen.
So wish me luck as we prepare to disconnect this weekend all in the name of charity and some fabulous personal benefits for the family as well.