Keeping the time you spend online healthy and balanced can be a daily challenge. How can we keep connected while not letting virtual relationships take over our real-life relationships?
Do you spend too much time with your attention directed at a screen?
If you are a mom like me, keeping the time you spend online healthy and balanced can be a daily challenge.
I oftentimes feel conflicted. I find the virtual resources and the social connections I am able to tap into convenient, necessary and valuable. But I also feel the time that I spend online has a tendency to cut into other areas of my personal life.
More times that I would like to admit, I find myself distracted or preoccupied by something trivial on screen while a real live human being is seeking my attention. The siren song of social media feeds, replying emails or responding to texts is addictive and are sometimes too tempting to ignore.
Chances are that you can relate. So many of us find ourselves on Facebook or Instagram just “checking in.” It can be easy to forget that we’re in control, and our technology use does not have to control us.
How can we keep connected while not letting virtual relationships take over our real-life relationships?
This year, I’ve set some unplugged goals for myself. These are not only for my own personal accountability, but also in hope to inspire others to put down their cell phones every once in awhile, in an effort to develop and maintain more healthy, less-tech habits.
Consider these three ideas:
Be a role model with your technology use. Our children are at an impressionable age. Know that your choices and actions will influence the habits your children will develop. Work to follow the rules that you want your children to follow in your home, in vehicles and in public places. Speak through your actions modeling healthy, safe, and respectful technology use in your home and community.
Work to manage your time so that your technology use does not unnecessarily interfere your family time. Set boundaries and be appropriate with your use of technology. Remember, you do not need to be “on call” all of the time. Work to eliminate distractions by turning off your phone, tablet or computer when you want to be fully present to with those around you.
When you are sharing meals with your family, helping your child with homework or connecting with your loved ones at the end of a full day, phone calls, emails and texts can wait. Teach your children that there “there is a time and a place” for these types of communications. Show those who you are making real-time interactions with that you I honor and value their presence.
Disconnect from technology for periods of time Every Single Day. This can be a refreshing practice that can help you stay connected both with the people in your life and also with your surroundings. Remember it can be rational to go out in public without your phone. I know I got through close to 30 years of my life without a phone in my pocket; which is strong evidence that I can survive a family gathering, a shopping experience, a walk around the neighborhood or a doctor’s appointment without ‘‘checking out.” I can also go a couple of hours – or even a day – without checking a social media feed, text or email. It is possible! This type of disconnect can actually help you feel connected in a different way, one that is a bit more real and genuine.
Creating and maintaining healthy habits with our technology use is important to create balance in our lives. I am grateful for all of the gifts that come with technological innovations, but I also want to be responsible and in control with my actions so I can experience the richness of everyday, real-time interactions, deepening my connections with those around me, by unplugging.
Image credit: Megan Devine