This past Sunday, our family decided to try and experiment. We disconnected. From morning till night, not a click, game, or phone to hand, for anyone. At the end of the day, we gathered to debrief and discuss the experience. The results surprised me.
“The day seemed to last forever.”
Although our older kids have recently left the nest, we still have 5 here with us on most days, ages 3-16. Our kids love gaming, and as a former avid gamer their dad has a soft spot for finishing levels. What’s different today however is that they are playing other real live players and often friends online. When I say, “time for bed” or “go cut the grass”, I’m now met with an apologetic on how that would be rude and will hurt their rating if they don’t finish.
Whether it’s video games, apps, netflix cartoons for the kids, or my wife and I scrolling on our iPhones, our entire family is continually connected and it’s exhausting. As parents, we’ve never been big on timing controls, or even content filters. Our philosophy has been to equip our kids to govern their time and eyes, because once you leave this house, the world is pretty much unfiltered. However, unlike keeping innocent eyes from porn, the issue of addiction to our gadgets seems more complicated.
We need our phones, or do we? We can’t function without our apps, calendars, reminders, and instagram connections, or can we? What are we losing out on through our constant connection?
‘Research shows people now touch, swipe or tap their phone on average 2,617 times a day.’ – source
Our disconnected day was incredible. We called it our ‘soul rest’ day, and we committed not only to laying down all forms of technology (even the kitchen, Deb was excited about that), but also doing only those things which caused reflection, consideration, and awareness. Essentially using the principles of sabbath rest, allowing our soul to breath. The result was reconnecting with the neighbors, a whole lot of laughter and a day, in the words of Bryan Adams that ‘seemed to last forever,’ in a really enjoyable way.
I expected whining, some mid-day rebellion, but instead found my family hunkered down together in the living room at the end of day reflecting and being a family. It was convicting, eye opening, and we’ll be practicing this again next Sunday.
If you are interested in some challenging articles related to the social engineering taking place on platforms like Facebook, and the purposeful re-wiring of our brains – check these out, you might be more enthused to try your own experiment after reading!