“Turn it off!” I feel I am constantly asking, bribing, yelling at my children to disconnect from their technology. From the moment my son gets up in the morning until my edict to shut tech down at 7:30, SnapChat bings echo through our house. My son doesn’t even look at the images when he responds to the bing! He just clicks to open and closes it…someone’s “streak” has been maintained. I, on the other hand, get sucked into Facebook. Some friends have said that Facebook is so negative that they don’t go there much anymore. My feed is filled with interesting and positive articles and vlogs (video blogs). There are motivating stories, videos, and pictures. If I sit down to just look at what people are up to for a moment…well, 15 minutes have passed before I even realize it!
Like t.v. for me 10 years ago, technology is a subtle time waster. It gets in my way of accomplishing the little things in my life that I value. At the computer, I sit back, resting my feet up on the desk and watch stories of women entrepreneurs…I could do that, I think to myself. I watch a yoga video…I should do that, I think to myself. I watch home improvement DIY videos…I could make that, I think to myself. So much of the time I spend on technology doesn’t set me up to accomplish or create. It just uses up my time resource by lulling me to passivity. I don’t go any further than observing and engaging in someone else’s achievement.
Last week, I was challenged to a 6-hour “communication fast on Sunday morning for a class that I am taking. This involved no talking… no reading, no tv, no cell phones, no computers. No radio in the car while driving. We were asked to resist outside influences and be open to being completely engaged and present in the “now”. Perhaps that is my biggest problem with the way I use technology. So much of the time that I’m surfing the web, I’m distancing myself from actively engaging in activities that would make me feel accomplished. When I’m playing a game on my cell phone to “chill out”, I could be talking with my kids, writing in my journal, petting my dog, or appreciating the spring song of a Cardinal…activities that would add to my feelings of fulfillment and connection with the present.
Technology is a necessary tool for most (all?) of us in today’s society. We must use it for . work. It is valuable for reminding my husband to pick up milk on the way home, sharing a funny picture with friends, and keeping up with the Kardashians. Of course, it is also the format that I can express my thoughts to an audience–like you–with this blog post! But it is also like an evil, plotting, magnet-beast that pulls me in and devours my time. Fortunately, I can control this gluttonous monster by making the choice, the conscious mental decision and physical action, to just turn it off!