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MANN: Trading in our devices for dates with our families

Image Credit: SUBMITTED
January 24, 2019 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


Depending on which community you reside in, you are either already deep into Unplug and Play Week, or preparing to disconnect shortly.

Unplug and Play isn’t anything new — a week dedicated to connecting with family and friends, ditching phones and/or screens (most of us have more than one) and enjoying the beautiful outdoors we are so lucky to be surrounded by.

We are extremely privileged to live at a time when the technology at our fingertips can connect strangers across oceans, access a wealth of information at the click of a button, and literally save lives.

But there is always a dark side to everything (yes, even cake).

Addictions to our devices, to life online, to reassurance seeking, is in my opinion an epidemic. It can be a periodic epidemic, but an epidemic just the same.

Unfortunately, such an addiction can damage the individual psyche and relationships with family, friends and reality.

There has to be an appropriate balance of screen life and real life, and there has to be breaks.

I am heavily reliant on my devices — I am well aware.

For both play and work, I can be found utilizing my phone, computer and television — sometimes all three at the same time.

It becomes compulsive — checking my text messages, refreshing my browser and flipping through hours of reality TV. 

But it wasn’t always like that, and thank god I wasn’t bombarded by social media in my formidable years of awkwardness and soul searching.

When I was in a bad situation, I could go home and that was it — the situation didn’t follow me online. There was no digital trail, no photographic evidence or tweets to haunt me.

And at night, the TV was shared by more than one person, usually several, passing around a bowl of buttered popcorn.

But we don’t have to hate technology, screens and life online.

It’s part of the present and the future, and there are so many benefits and great parts to be discovered.

We can expand education and inclusiveness, and offer opportunities that could hardly once be dreamed of.

But, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and sometimes that good thing is so desirable, it suddenly takes the front seat to anything else in our lives.

When was the last time you sat at a park, or in a field, alone, with only thoughts to keep you company?

When was the last time you went 24 hours without reaching for your phone, panicked you might have missed a text?

When was the last time you picked up the phone and had a real conversation — free of pizza emojis and a string of LOLs?

I like the idea of Unplug and Play Week, even if for one day I can be reminded the importance of being present in the lives of my children, and that doesn’t mean just physically being in the same room with them.

The screens aren’t going away anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean we have to give them all of our attention just yet.

— Becky is a 30-something, red haired, mother of two, trying to navigate this life as best she can. She enjoys talking to people and discovering their stories. Still trying to balance her personal and professional life, she juggles work and play. In her spare time Becky can be found visiting with friends, spending time with her family and saving time by reading while walking.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2019
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