Don’t get me wrong, I love the gadgets of our day. I mean, take a look at this picture. Do we really want to carry around all this stuff, or have it in our house? Technology has come a LONG way!
Yes, technology has provided us with so many opportunities. To see so much, to do so much, to connect with so many, all around the world. Yet in all this connecting, have we forgotten how to TRULY connect?
Do you connect…
Have we forgotten how to connect with ourselves? Can we spend time alone, without a smartphone or iPad or Kindle to keep us occupied? Can we spend time in nature and truly enjoy being there, basking in the wonderfulness of the vast world around us?
Have we forgotten how to connect with our significant other? Do we text our conversations, rather than looking one another in the eye? Do they have your attention when you are with them, or is one eye on your phone?
Same with your children. When you are with your children, are you really WITH them? Do they have your attention when they are talking to you? Are you really SEEING them, watching them grow and discover and love life?
And what about even coworkers or people you do business with? Do you converse with those around you? Do you speak to the cashier at the store, or the server at the restaurant?
I am not asking you to give up your electronics. I am simply asking you to be more mindful of those around you, and of your environment. Consider some boundaries that you place on yourself and discuss boundaries for electronics in your relationships.
Some are even addicted to the connectedness of social media (believe me, I get this!) On a deeper lever, we are excited at what is going on in our “world”, when in reality we may be missing out on what is actually happening in our REAL world in front of us.
I have been guilty of this in the past and I am sure I will be again, but I am striving to be fully present when I am with other people. I want those around me to feel like they are important enough to be paid attention to, whether it is my husband or the cashier at the grocery store.
5 ways to loosen the hold of technology
1. Turn of all unnecessary notifications. Do you really need to know when someone likes a status update you made on Facebook? Every time you hear a beep, you will be distracted for a second, even if you don’t check it right away. The only notifications I use are for text messages and my ringer. And at night I turn off the text messaging beep. Only an emergency phone call should disturb me overnight.
2. Set your own personal boundaries as to when you will and will not access your phone. It is not “wrong” to check your phone when you are with your kids, but decide when and how often is appropriate.
I personally try not to talk on the phone when I have a family member in the car with me, or I keep it short and sweet. This will all depend on the ages of those we are talking about and the circumstances. I will tell you, that if you want your kids to converse with you as they get older, you need to use time in the car to have conversations with each other, rather than talking on the phone.
Again, each family is different, but when my kids were teens, they were allowed to listen to their own music, but they had to keep one ear unplugged so they could hear me. I did not want them to be in the habit of completely tuning out of the conversation.
3. Have some time each day when you are unplugged. Time when you can hear yourself think. Time to think on the things that are important to you. I personally like to take a few minutes each day in prayer. Maybe you meditate. We just need time to hear our own thoughts and work to accept, process and deal with them, whatever they may be.
4. Don’t have electronics on just out of habit. Turn on the TV when you are planning to watch something. Pull out your laptop when you have something specific to do. Schedule times each day for visiting Facebook and Twitter, and reading blogs and news.
5. Accept that you can’t see and know everything. There will ALWAYS be more blogs to read, more Pins to see, more status updates to read, more news to know. Learn to accept what you can reasonably access, and let the rest go. Hit the little X in the upper right hand corner, and turn the power off.
Let’s remember that technology is a TOOL and we are to be the master of the tool, not a slave to it.