There is not a day goes by when we aren't informed by the media that children spend far to much time on electronic devices these days however in our household, I'm afraid to say the opposite is true. I am ashamed that 99% of the time I have my phone in my hand or I am behind my laptop. As a blogger, social media is important to me, however I do realise that maybe I don't need to reply to every email/tweet/message straight away and there are other things such as listening to my children that are more important. I'm not the only one in our house who seem's to be slightly addicted to technology and I think some time away from it all would do us all some good.
We were invited to take part in a Tech Timeout Challenge and provided with a snazzy jail cell in which to lock our phones away and spend some actual quality time together - an hour per day is recommended. During this hour, families are encouraged to disconnect from all things electronic with the aim of getting more involved in each other's lives.
Now I wasn't ready to go cold turkey so decided to break the challenge up into four weeks. Week one started with locking our phones in our jail cell and turning off our laptops and tablets for an hour each night while we watched tv together.
Week 1 - No mobile phone whilst watching tv
We love a family movie night in our house, however I am VERY guilty of not giving the film my full attention and will start playing on facebook after half an hour. Not great! Steve even said to me this week when we started watching a new series that I should lock my phone away otherwise I won't pay attention.
We decided to watch Harry Potter on Friday night WITHOUT OUR PHONES. We ordered pizza's, made milkshakes together and all cuddled up on the sofa. I have to say it was a really lovely experience and I did for once actually pay attention.
After 30 minutes I did start to get withdrawl symptoms (how bad is that!) and realised how heavily I do actually rely on my phone - I think it's weird not being able to google something whilst you're watching a film! I did feel like I might be missing out on something however when I went back to my phone a few hours later I had indeed missed nothing!
For the next few nights we locked our phones away while eating tea (yes I am one of those terrible parents that will be in reach of my phone even at the table!!) and during bath/bed routine (rather than me sitting on my bed on my phone while the kids play in their bath). As the week has gone on, I have to say I have found it so much easier.
Foresters commissioned a survey that found the best gift you could give your child for Christmas this year would be your attention, and I have to say this really struck a chord with me and I agree. I know I need to make more of an effort to talk face to face with my children rather than giving them half of my attention and I feel very guilty about this which is why I am going to make the best effort I can to continue taking time out from technology for 1 hour every day.
There are lots of activities and tips on the Tech Timeout website that have been submitted by real families providing ideas how you can make the most of your technology free family time. Your family can also join the pledge and submit your activity ideas too.
Stay tuned for next week's post when *shock horror* I am going to attempt to leave the house minus my phone!!