Time to Unplug
Do you own a phone, TV, computer or tablet?
Do you constantly check, update, post, text, watch, comment, browse or scroll?
Do you feel like you never slow down?
Do you find yourself constantly saying, “just a minute?”
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it may be time to take a closer look at the distractions in your life. With the holidays approaching, it is a great time to put our distractions to the side and focus on what or who is most important.
Research shows that increased time spent online is related to a decline in communications with family members and a person’s social circle, leading to feelings of loneliness and sadness. According to data compiled by the American Psychological Association, 45 percent of young and middle-aged adults say that even when their family is together, they feel disconnected because of technology. Too much time spent on technology (social media sites, video gaming, tablets, phones) can also cause an increase in irritability and aggression in children and adults.
Here are some tips to curb technology use in order to focus more on living presently:
- Identify your distractions. (phone, email, video game, Facebook, Instagram, to do list). Identifying your distractions will help you become more aware of their impact on your relationships.
- Give up your device for a specific time frame each day. (bedtimes, first thing in the morning, meal times)
- Plan one media-free evening each week with your family. (family game night, cook together, take a walk together)
- Schedule daily or weekly undistracted time with your spouse.
- Commit to leaving your cellphone in your purse, pocket or car when eating out at a restaurant.
- When waiting for an appointment, offer your child another activity to pass the time instead of playing on a device. (coloring, word search, card games, small toys)
- Choose a new family tradition to start. (Family game night, memorable bedtime routines, dinner time conversation starters like “highs and lows” or “word of the day”)
- Silence your phone.
- Change the notifications on your phone so that you are not constantly bombarded with incoming messages.
- Remove apps from your phone that capture your attention the most.
- Create a special place for all of your electronic devices and put them there when you come home from work each day.
- Schedule time to scroll through your social media accounts. Scheduling time may prevent you from spending too much of your time on social media.
- Create time limits on your children’s and teens’ technology use. Make them earn time by doing something physical or tech-free first.
- Do not allow electronics of any kind in your children’s or teens’ room.
- Make meal times tech-free.
Up for a challenge?
Pick one distraction in your life and refrain from doing that for two weeks. Choose to live presently in a fast-paced, overly pressured, technology-saturated world.
If you would like more information on living hands-free, check out www.handsfreemama.com.
At Connections, we serve as a regional resource center providing medical, educational, speech/language, and dyslexia evaluation services for children and teenagers. Following diagnosis, we work with you and your child to determine the best course of treatment and therapy for them. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 601-261-5159.