Our Northwest

3 ways to lead a family digital detox (before it’s too late)

Friday, December 9, 2016by  Sharlyn Petit

man and woman on their laptopsA scene from my most recent family gathering involved: one remote cabin in the woods, one internet hotspot, four individuals logged onto their preferred mobile devices, and absolutely zero conversation – unless you count “What’s the password?” as a valuable interaction.

At one point we all looked up at each other for a how-many-gigabytes-remaining tally and shared a good laugh.

If this sounds familiar to you at your family gatherings, it may be time to incite a family digital detox. For my family, the data plan hit its monthly limit and we had no choice but to connect offline with each other, but it’s not too late for you.

So, put down the devices already. Find a way to unplug – together – and step into some quality family time.

  1. Out of sight, out of mind. Start small. A basket, a side table, a designated zone of the house – claim a central spot where everyone can “ground” their devices for a set amount of time so you’re not urged to check in for every tiny notification.

  2. Make time for peace and quiet. Putting down your devices doesn’t mean you need to force conversation. Being quiet together slows down the day’s pace and eases the anxiety born from information overload and too much screen time. Give reading, writing, or meditation a try. It’s OK to let your mind wander without filling it with some digital snippet.

  3. Try it for 24 hours. Choose a day when you’re all on board (weekends or holidays are a good test) and go for it. It all starts with a painful easy switch/slide/press of the off buttons to your biggest digital distractions. Then, bring on the screen-free hours to enjoy your favorite fill-in-the-blank activity – nature, a good laugh, a nap?

lily in water and rocksA recent report found that U.S. adults dedicate over 10.5 hours a day to screen time. That’s not a typo. We’re spending nearly half of our days watching, clicking, Googling, and squinting away at screens. While some of it is necessary, there are ways to reclaim your waking hours to spend on the things you value most.

At a loss for what you can do with your family time once you've freed up some hours? Check out this list of 50 Ways to Unplug Your Family at storyberries.com. 

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