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Challenge: Kids and Technology

Disconnecting From My Virtual World And Plugging Into My Real One

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Let's face it, most of us are addicted to our phones. I am quite addicted to editing pictures of my children, my husband is addicted to SportsCenter and many of us like checking our email, social media updates and more. The truth is our cell phones buzz at us constantly. It seems there’s no end to the sounds of social media with the addition of the never-ending ringing phone we face each day.

Many of us, myself included, walk around with our phones glued to our hands. Whatever the case is we are addicted to our smart phones. My husband and I have decided to make a tiny shift in that paradigm. We came up with a new rule that during dinnertime we plug in our phones and we don’t look at them until our children are asleep.

We have always had the opportunity to set boundaries for ourselves, we just haven’t done a very good job of it. And as our phones have become the “everything” that happens in our lives, our reluctance to plug it in and turn it off has only grown. This new rule is only a month old, but I am finding it to be completely successful for us as a family.

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What we have found is our children are getting the attention they so deserve and we are making learning fun. It's quite amazing how present we actually feel. Once we started doing this we started to make a conscious decision that when we are with our children, phones and computers are down. We do not check email or answer calls or texts. It's family time. The End.

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Remember when we were kids and there were no cell phones and we all played outside? One of the cool things about being a child is their scope to truly be present. Unlike us adults, kids don’t dwell on anything. They worry about what's the next Nintendo game or the latest app. I envy that capacity, but when I unplug, disconnect and am present, I worry less and focus on the kids I am so blessed to have.

I noticed at a children’s performance the other day some parents were texting throughout the short 30 minutes. Now that we have made this pact as a family and I am consciously aware of it, I actually don’t like what it looks like. I immediately felt so bad and also have done this in the past. I noticed the children were looking into the crowd and could see their parents on their cell phones. Could there be something more important than our precious kids on stage for half an hour? We are so busy as parents, we truly are, and sometimes it’s impossible to not be glued to the phone, but I can honestly say being present for the plays, present in our conversations with our friends, and present with our kids is truly an eye-opening experience.

It’s so nice helping them with their homework one on one and having family conversations. Each child reads to us for 30 minutes and then we say our prayers and read a little story about our faith before we go to bed. Being connected to these four little lives is what matters most. We all want to be more available, less distracted, more tuned in to our children. It’s a parenting method that takes real presence, and I am determined to do this.

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Winnie The Pooh sums it up best:

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I would love to hear from you. Have you tried unplugging before or would you be willing to?

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