This post is a follow-up to my previous post about passing judgement. One of the main examples in that post was of a mother on her phone at the playground instead of engaging with her children. I offered some reasons as to why this may have happened based on my own personal experience.
I believe there is a time and a place for electronics, especially in this technologically growing generation we live in. I realized just how much I used my computer a couple of years ago.
I gave up my computer for a week during lent. Not even one day into the “fast” I realized just how frequently I use the internet. I blog. I communicate through email. My business is completely run through technology. My recipes for cooking dinner are on the web. Looking up home remedies and essential oil tidbits is a daily activity. So believe me when I say that a large chunk of my day is spent on devices.
But I am DETERMINED not to let them rule my life!
Josh and I have a few rules that we try to abide by when at all possible.
1 – No electronics at the table. If our phones ring during a meal we don't answer them.
2 – Turn off unnecessary notifications. Josh and I have both turned our sound notifications off on our phones. This decision we made over a year ago was one of the best choices we have ever made. The constant reminder that there was a message waiting for me or coming through made me feel the urge to “just peek” and before I knew it 20 minutes had passed.
3 – Turn the phone upside down and engage with eye contact. When my kids or husband are talking to me I turn my phone upside down in order to give them my undivided attention.
4 – Evenings are family times. Josh and I both try to keep our phones and devices away until the kids are getting in bed. We are working hard on BEING HERE when we are here, not half-heartedly listening to a story while browsing Twitter.
5 – Communicate what you are doing. If you DO have to be on your device during a family time or absolutely HAVE to break communication to answer a call, try to communicate what is going on. Let the person you are with know that you are very interested in them and what they are saying but that you need to answer the call or text this person back and then you'll get right back with them.
Josh and I have even given our kids the freedom to call us out if we are not using our devices appropriately. Talk about accountability!
Of course there are always exceptions to these rules, but try to lay down a foundation for your family. Find a balance between the growing need for electronics and the need to be in the physical and present. Make this decision in a family meeting if you have older ones with devices. Then, hold each other accountable.
Allow those around you to see that THEY are more important than the device in your hand.