I have a love-hate relationship with electronics. On the one hand digital technology and the internet make my job as a writer and photographer so much easier, and the rise of social media has allowed me to connect with many great people that I never would have known otherwise. Not to mention the fact that my smartphone sometimes feels like my third child (Siri is a lovely name, after all). But on the other hand electronics can get in the way of family time and be pathologically addictive, for children and adults alike.
My daughter was two and a half the first time I got an iPhone. Within minutes, she had figured out how to unlock it and quickly began to explore all the colorful icons on the touchscreen. She was enthralled.
Three years later, we often end up in a tug-of-war over my phone. She wants it for taking photos, making short movies and listening to music. (For a brief period of time I also had games on it, but they quickly “disappeared” once I realized that I had just turned my phone into Toy of the Year.) I want my phone for all the obvious reasons, like making calls and texting, but also to have access to social media at my fingertips.
I’m far from the worst offender when it comes to social media addiction but blogging has made it much harder to shut down all the electronic devices. Every time I hear the familiar sound of an incoming text message, email or social media comment, there is something in the reward center of my brain that immediately goes “cha-ching.” Then there’s the fear of missing something important if I don’t obsessively check my various social media “feeds.” I don’t even remember the last time I completely unplugged from all electronics for even a day.
But I’m pulling the plug this holiday. There you go, I’m on the record.
For the next week you will NOT see my Christmas dinner perpetuated on Instagram, nor will you see my kids playing in the snow on my Facebook feed. I will NOT attempt to describe any outdoor activities that we may be doing in less than 140 characters and I will NOT upload any nature crafts to Pinterest. And on Christmas Day, my cell phone will remain in the “off” position.
During this week-long digital detox, I’m going to unwind, visit with people in person, and get outside with the kids. It will be hard to pull myself away from all the distractions on the computer/smartphone screens, but I know I need it.
Will you join the challenge?
If you need specific advice for how to do it, Amelia at Sierra Social Hub has some great ideas, and Zoe at Mashable has come up with 5 Digital Detox Plans. Somewhat ironically, there are even apps that are designed to help save us from our smartphone addiction in time for the holidays; Tech Republic lists five of them.
That’s it! Go enjoy the holidays and I’ll see you next year!