Technology Time Out

Sometimes I want to scream at my phone. But more often than not, I want to take a sledge hammer to my husband’s phone.

The difficulty with cell phones is that you know it is mobile. So you never know where anyone is. I certainly feel less guilty calling someone’s cell phone than I do calling a house number because if they are at home; I automatically assume I’m imposing on their family time. This is just one of the many issues with cell phones, but the good far outweigh the bad.

I’m guilty of modern distractions.
I know I’m not alone. But it is so challenging to admit. What comes first? Denial.

Well, I’m no longer in denial. In fact, I’m on my own road to recovery. 🙂

At Christmas my husband and I realized we might have a small problem when I had to upgrade our modem because it was running slow. I called to request the upgrade and when the gentleman asked me how many devices I was using and how many wireless devices? I had to honestly answer TWELVE. Yes, TWELVE, between just my husband and me. I was surprised and a little embarrassed. But I counted it up…
3 smart phones (my husband had two – personal and work)
2 laptops
1 iPad
2 Kindles
1 Desktop
1 Wii
1 XBox
1 iPod

How on earth did we acquire so many distractions? I began justifying it to myself. The desktop, laptop, iPad, and one phone was mine. He had two phones and a laptop. The kids each have their own Kindles (which are also for family use); and the iPod, Xbox and Wii are family items. Good heavens! What have we become? My children are 4, 2, and 8 months. These things were distracting me from our moments together. I wasn’t necessarily overly using them, but rather than sitting down – taking care of phone calls and emails all at once – I was doing it casually all day long. It was a constant distraction rather than taking 30 minutes and moving on with my day.

We have a strict “no phone” rule for our kids. Our phones are ours, you will not find any children’s games on any of the phones or on my iPad. We feel that these distractions are babysitters when they shouldn’t be. If they want to read, get a book. If they want to play a game, pull one out of the closet. If you want to draw, get a crayon and paper. We know many other parents do it differently, and we don’t judge them at all, I get it. I’ve been tempted to, but we just don’t want our kids having that addiction or reliance on our devices.

Now you might be thinking “but you just said they have kindles!” Yes, I know. We are a little bit hypocritical. We did not buy them kindles, in fact they were Christmas gifts from grandparents. And to be honest, my husband was angry when they received them. But since day one we have put restrictions on them. They must earn the privilege of using them (more about how later). They only have things downloaded that we have approved, along with time limits, and child locks. Basically – it’s a glorified library and iPod. The Kindles never leave the home unless we are on a road trip, and they are a learning tool, not a reward.

But even with all of the rules an justification for my own devices, we still faced a problem. They were everywhere! We sat down to tv for family movie night – we have our phones RIGHT there in case someone calls us or texts us. If we bills to pay – photos to edit – work to do – all computers and devices are out. If the kids wanted to do some learning games or read a book on their Kindle – they were out. If we wanted to listen to the Frozen soundtrack ONE MORE TIME – guess what it was playing on? 🙂

I’m not old, but I remember growing up (even with cell phones when I was in high school) where phones remained on the doc station until it rang. Now days I’m juggling carrying everything I need to change diapers along with my phone from downstairs to upstairs so I don’t miss anything. Everywhere I go, there is my phone and usually my iPad.

So I knew something had to change. I don’t feel that I overused my devices, but they were just a natural part of our life. But I needed to physically separate from them a little more.

I went to the store and bought a basket. I put the basket on the piano where it was visible, accessible, and in a central part of our home. And I started keeping all of our devices in it. If it was done being used, put it back in the basket. If I was off the call, put it back in the basket. It became out central docking station for all devices. (I’m still working on my husband)

This has been the greatest thing! If the phone rings or I get a text, I’m not instantly picking up my phone. I can get up and go answer it, or I will miss the call and lo and behold…there is caller ID and I can call them back! Amazing! I feel like with the use of cell phones, missing a call is unacceptable. Phones or mobile, therefore it should be wherever you are. But I say no! 🙂 It can sit in one place, loud enough to be heard, and no attached to me. If I need to use them, great I get them out of the basket, I use them as much as I did before but now at least my children do not see me carrying it around and my hands are less full. My attention is not distracted from my children!

Because I don’t have my phone attached to me (as much – being honest here) I’m more free to see and do things with my munchkins! We just play and if the phone rings – I go answer it. Otherwise, my distractions are no longer in my hand or in my way. Yay for Technology Time Out!

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