I don’t mean for a day or a weekend or on National Day of Unplugging. I mean forever!
Could you possibly live without constantly checking your social networks on your smartphone?
Would you be able to give up Netflix, your laptop, tablet, cordless phone, Wi-Fi, and DVR?
I have personally struggled with the concept of disconnecting and not allowing technology to take over my life. Over the years, I have found myself not paying full attention to what is in front of me because I am too distracted with my devices. And the result of this is not being fully present in the lives of my kids, and the thought of that absolutely shatters my heart.
I know my family isn’t alone in our struggles. I am sure other families struggle with finding a balance between technology and life, including a Canadian couple who saw the effects modern technology was having on their family and decided to act.
Blair McMillan and his girlfriend Morgan noticed their sons, Trey, 5, and Denton, 2 were spending more time attached to their iPhones and iPad than to them, and would happily give up the chance to play outside and soak up some rays in order to stay inside glued to a screen.
According to The Atlantic, both Blair and Morgan wanted to attempt to parent the same way they were parented, and decided to take away these modern day gadgets from their kids. But that’s not all. They got rid of everything. All technology dating back to the year Blair and Morgan were born, 1986.
What exactly did they give up? Laptops, tablets, smart phones, Internet (In case you’re wondering, they use encyclopedias to get the information they need). They will also only do in-person banking, actually use a camera with film to capture family memories, take roadtrips with the assistance of paper maps and will entertain their kids with coloring books and toys.
And how long will Blair and Morgan keep up the stroll down ’80s memory lane you ask? They say, until April 2014 — a full year.
Do I think this family’s decision is a bit drastic? Absolutely!
But will say that I personally commend this family’s efforts to not allow technology to be the main focus in their lives. Let’s face it; technology has become an extension of us. We feel like we always have to be on our phones to check what’s going on and that we always have to be connected or else we will miss something. Yet what we are not doing with all these gadgets is actually communicating. As tech savvy as we have become, we have seemed to have lost our ability to communicate face-to-face losing that human ability to empathize, relate and interact with others. The sad thing is that our children are growing up to disconnected to the ‘real world’ because they are always connected to the virtual one.
I also feel their children will benefit the most from this experiment. Why? Because they are 5 and 2, they do not need to play Angry Birds all day long; they do no need to become Minecraft experts. What they need is to learn a basic life skills that a lot of these ‘tech savvy’ kids are missing. Providing kids with the actual physical tools to succeed and become independent is what is sorely missing for our kids today. Many can get high scores in Candy Crush but have poor writing and social skills.
With that, I believe my family and I would definitely give the whole ‘no modern technology in our home’ experiment a shot. Definitely not for an entire year, but probably for a few months. Here’s why:
If I go with their concept of eliminating technology in my home as far back as the year I was born, we could pull it off. Not saying it would be easy, but I do believe the ’70s were a good decade in terms of family and technology. See, I was born in 1978, it was the advent of technology, and was the era in which technology changed the way we consumed and manipulated the information given to us.
For my kids, ages six months and almost 5 this would be fantastic for them, as cool interactive toys were created in the seventies.
And cartoons, just some all-time classics — The Fantastic Four, The Flinstones, Yogi, Popeye, Pink Panther, The Jetsons, Underdog, Batman, and Bugs Bunny to name a few — definitely made it a great time to just be a kid!
As far as TV shows, the ’70s had some really great one (for the time, that is), like The Bionic Woman, Mork and Mindy, Taxi, Battlestar Galactica, and Dallas. For my husband and I, TV isn’t a big deal for us. As long as we have access to watch Downton Abbey, we are happy campers.
As far as technology, here is what we would be working with: Apple II, Atari (Space Invaders and Pacman – YAY!), a printer, personal computers, a record player.
Although it does not seem like much, when the purpose of this unique experiment is to get families closer, and communicating, then it would be just about all we would need!
Now let me ask you, would you take these same drastic measures to bring your family closer together?