Switching off the technology by default: my practice run to Disconnect to Reconnect

Easter this year saw us revisit our camping ground at Halls Gap for another fabulous long weekend of family, friends, fun, chocolate, wine, food and more food. I say camping ground but for those that know me you are probably aware camping is not a common practise of mine. We were in fact staying in fairly comfortable 2 bedroom cabins but that is not really the point.  That aside, my trip to The Grampians also by default ensured I had a good practice run for my weekend of disconnecting to reconnect. It soon became apparent my phone had very little service for phone calls and texting and zero access to the online world. Usually a catastrophe of epic proportion! Instead I took a deep breath and decided to enjoy the novelty. As an added bonus there was no xbox, Wii or  Minecraft so the kids had to find other entertainment as well. Not that they found this difficult as there were so many kids and so much space to play they never really had time to get bored.

The kids played footy, had easter egg hunts, went in search of kangaroos and had running race after running race after running race .

It is a great weekend for our kids to connect. To connect with us and to connect with friends. A few years ago the kids all decided to build a cubby house on the grounds. They proudly made a sign that said ‘Kids Cubby’, carefully displayed it atop their house and showed off their engineering feats with great pride. The owner of the park kept their sign and every year on our return he brings it out for the kids to rebuild their masterpiece.

And as for me. I actually didn’t miss the technology like I thought I would. Sure there was some frustration when I couldn’t receive or reply to messages, but I got around  it.

Once again it showed me that if our kids are left to their own devices they can make their own fun. We are forever berating the laziness and lack of creativity of our kids today but in essence they are no different to us. We just didn’t have the access to the easy entertainment our kids do today. It is up to us as parents to give them the opportunities to explore, connect, to create , to get bored, to try other things.

That is why I am passionate about getting my kids to disconnect to reconnect this Mothers Day weekend. We know the benefits of having a break physically and emotionally from the technology and we are more aware of the importance of time limits and balance when it comes to being connected to the online world.

For more information on  Disconnecting to Reconnect, go to last weeks blog post and check out the  D2R facebook page. Aside from the personal benefits of disconnecting, the campaign will raise much needed funds for the very special work done by Edmund Rice camps in giving disadvantaged kids the individual care and attention and mentoring at organised camps around Australia. To dontate go to everydayhero.com.au/martine_oglethorpeMy role as spokesperson for Disconnect to Reconnect is completely voluntary.


What sorts of things does your family do together that doesn’t involve technology?


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This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Robomum

    I hadn’t heard of this initiative until your post but I think we’ve been doing it informally for a while. Just going outside seems to calm everyone down. We camp as well – it’s the ultimate disconnection.

  2. Kathy

    I missed your post last week, but look forward to doing the disconnect to reconnect. My three year old is already so tech savyy with my iphone and my nine year old has got her own laptop in year 4, so she’s on it, plus her IPOD + Xbox. I’ve resisted an IPAD for this long but I’d love to get my phone out of the clutches of my son, so maybe! We too had a wonderful Easter camping (or glamping) with 12 adults and 20 kids! Fun and frivolity all of our own creation. I’m connecting today from Yinyangmother through IBOT and would love your opinion on little children’s meditation videos I’ve been experimenting with – the theory being that our kids are so used to visual stimulation, they might calm throught the visual medium too. And I have some ideas for apps. Anyway, the link to one of the videos is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXbVd2VVNRo
    – I’ve also done up a Rainbow medition and have some other ideas…cheers..kathy

  3. Twitchy

    I wish I could think of some we do together that doesn’t involve technology. But with our Mr13, who finds life in general quite daunting, this can be quite the challenge. He does love his ice skating though, so if we all tried that out… Something to think about! Great going with the initiative. #teamIBOT

  4. EssentiallyJess

    I love camping for this reason. It’s funny, cause you think it will be hard, but because your focus is so different, and on spending time with the family, you don’t miss it at all.
    Makes me want to go camping again

  5. Candice

    Martine, thanks so much for your support of our charity (www.ercvic.com) and our event. We see on every camp how much a child thrives with 1:1 focused positive attention from our young volunteers. We ask all of the kids and volunteers to leave their “screens” at home while on our camps. After the initial shock no ones seems to mind – they are too busy having fun, getting messy and creating great memories.

  6. Sam Stone

    We turn off technology at meal times, so no phones, no TV, no Internet 🙂

  7. Hi Martine, both these diconnect posts are terrific. Some good friends of our have family ‘screen free Tuesday’ each week which they all look forward to, children are 14, 12 and 7. Such a good idea, which I often think of doing but haven’t tried yet. It’s my husband who resists… hmmm… need to have a think about what to do as I would like to do this a lot.

    We just had the most lovely day here in Scotland with the cousins on a beach, a bonfire, lots of wood collecting, all the kids charging around in the fresh air, so good for us all.

    We’re so lucky in living in a cul de sac with kids next door. The wee boys charge around like maniacs, and overuse of screens isn’t an issue. For the teens it’s more so, but thank goodness they have lots of other things in their lives. In fact, it’s me who benefits most from a switch off!

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