Benefits of digitally detoxing

October 31, 2016

Technology….sigh…we can’t seem to live without it, but sometimes I really don’t want to live with it either.

Let me just say firstly that this is by no means a post condemning all things technology or that I am about to break away from society and disappear off into the bush somewhere (although that idea does at times seem rather appealing).

No, I just wanted to write about our experience with technology here at home and how we I am trying to create more balance between screen time VS good quality time spent together as a family.

We love the internet and the TV at our place, as it does serve its purpose, particularly when it comes to catching up on the news, watching cartoons, salivating over the food channel, watching cartoons, Netflix and chilling (actually, no, that never happens) and watching cartoons.

My partner Jade and I are also on our phones a lot to catch up with friends and family on Facebook and/or other social media platforms, as well as to check emails or to blob out after a long day of work or looking after the kids.

There’s probably nothing too weird or unfamiliar with this scenario, it’s just that I started to notice that it was becoming all too normal that our phones were constantly attached to us and that the TV seemed to be on all hours of the day.

We would even have our phones up in bed with us, so that despite Jade and I lying right next to each other, we could just as well have been a million miles away, with both our faces were glued to our screens. It was also the first thing we would reach for in the morning and in the end it was really starting to bug me.

I had seen a few articles written about “digitally detoxing” and had mentioned to Jade that I thought it would be good for our family to try (to which he kind of half agreed as he looked up from watching cars on YouTube).

It wasn’t until we had family stay with us a few months back that I once again felt just how special it feels to connect with people face-to-face and to have real, engaging conversations without the distraction of our phones.

That’s not to say that we never checked our phones or turned on the TV during that time, but the balance was much more healthy and I could literally feel how much more relaxed and in tune I was, not only with myself, but with everyone else and also my surroundings.

We have therefore started to leave our phones downstairs to charge overnight and I am very conscious now of not being on my phone where necessary, especially when the girls are around. It’s admittedly one of my greatest concerns that one day the girls will look back and say “we always remember our parents being on their phones”, so if that’s not incentive to cut back, I don’t know what is!

What role does technology play in your family and do you have any particular rules about the amount of screen time your family engages in?

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Myjanne Jensen
Myjanne Jensen is the mother of two little girls; a freelance journalist who works full-time at Griffith University as the Placement Officer for the Journalism & PR Internship Program; writes for Scenestr.com.au; and, is a Community Correspondent for 612 ABC Brisbane.

Myjanne has a strong interest in a variety of different issues ranging from women’s rights, social justice, health and wellbeing, multiculturalism, human behaviour, music and the arts.

Connect with Myjanne on Facebook, Twitter or read some of her other published work on her blog.