Technology Free Night

I normally write my Thursday blog post on a Wednesday evening – with the TV on in the background, and checking Facebook, my RSS feeds and Twitter intermittently. This won’t be happening tonight though – Wednesday has been declared ‘Technology Free Night’ in our home, which means no TV, no laptops, and no sneaky checking of Facebook on the Blackberry either.

Just as much as we talk about avoiding the email avalanche, I believe it’s also important to recognize the technology overload that we face on a daily basis, and just how easy it has become to be addicted to not only checking email, but also instant messages, Facebook, Twitter etc.

What impact is this constant connectivity having on us – and are our electronic devices keeping us apart from the ones that really matter – our family?

My solution is to introduce ‘Technology Free Time” into our lifestyle to try and find the balance between the benefits that technology can bring to our lives both professionally and personally, against the element of disconnect and distraction from our family and downtime.

Fear not if at first you are asked by members of your family whether there is an ‘app’ for this –  I have researched some useful tips on how to get started on ‘Technolgy free times’ that should hopefully help taking the first step.

  • Start off with short periods of technology down-time. Understand that your life won’t cease because of the break in connectivity, and realize that as with any other addiction, you may experience a period of withdrawal and anxiety!
  • Choose your time well – for us Wednesday night is a good night to start as I don’t miss Grey’s Anatomy (Monday’s) and what used to be Brothers and Sisters on a Thursday! My anxiety levels may have been slightly higher if husband had insisted on either of these other nights.
  • Try leaving your cell phone at home one day of the week, probably best on a week-end as we don’t want to lose customers due to our technology free mission. Apparently you’ll feel a sense of release not having the phone on you. (Again – remember point 1 regarding the anxiety levels at first)
  • Hire a virtual assistant – not sure about this, but it does make sense and opens a whole new topic of ‘jobs’ that our children will be doing that was never a part of our vocab even.
  • Give your family advance warning so that they can prepare mentally for this!
  • Prepare some activities for the technology free time – especially when starting off on this challenge. Activities like hosting a games evening, or call the baby sitter and take your spouse out to dinner on a school night, cook dinner together, read a good book, build a puzzle!
  • Let technology help you disconnect. Use Facebook, Twitter or email to tell friends and family that you will be offline. Have emails sent to your inbox in batches.
  • Make the bedroom a media-free zone!

Would love to hear your feedback or any suggestions you have to make our technology free night a success!

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5 Responses to “Technology Free Night”

  1. Keith Coats February 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    I wonder how this will play itself out in the lives of our kids down the road? Knowing how to unplug, switch-off, disconnect might be something of a holy grail when it comes to ‘being human’! I foresee technology moving from ‘out there’ to becoming something of ‘who we are’. Ian Goldin in his Ted.com clip talks about what used to fit inside a building now fits inside your pocket; and in the future, what fits inside your pocket, will fit inside a blood cell.

  2. Franco February 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Just love this idea! Again, the kids will think we are the weirdo’s of the town, but hey, what the heck! Fits in perfectly with our Meat-less Mondays. And, seeing that Wednesdays are cell evening, it makes even more sense.

    Also, it is a vital part of slow living, something we want to (want to, because it is difficult to just do it) embrace this year.

  3. Jude Foulston February 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Let us know how your technology free evenings go Franco! Ours is still a work in progress, as crazy as it sounds – it’s not as easy as it we thought it would be!

  4. Victoria July 14, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    Hi Jude, I’m just about to post a very similar blog to your’s on the same topic which means it’s not just us feeling this way. We have to take back abit of control and prioritise what’s more important in life. And I totally agree with you that technology and mediums like Facebook could never take the place of those we love. A balance in all things :)

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