“Beep. Ding! Ring!!” Twitter is chirping, the kids just finished a dance-off with the Wii and my facebook feed is buzzing on the Blackberry. As summer approaches, Canadians have a growing social concern about the impact that digital devices and technology are having on family togetherness. Remember those long cottage days as kids when we spent hours playing Battleship, catching fireflies and beating the parents at Monopoly? (I think they let me).
I want my kids to have memories of their childhood that don’t involve Minecraft and exploding pigs. So I have agreed to take the “Summer Tech Timout Challenge by life insurance provider, Foresters”. It offers a call to action to experience scheduled time together without devices for one hour a day for a week this summer. But I want to go much further. My family will do the challenge for 8 weeks in July and August, and during one summer week, we will completely stash the tech. No computers, mobile phones, ipod touches or ipads. <Insert heart palpitations here.>
The interesting conundrum for me is that of all four members of my family, it’s me that will have the hardest time. Granted, my business requires that I be constantly ‘plugged in’, but I admit that it’s hard to turn off and take a break. Even when I’m globetrotting I buy roaming plans for the tech. But not this summer. I will unplug for a full week. Read books. Garden. (Without instagramming the flowers – the horror!) It actually makes me doubt my abilities as a mother that I have concern about being without technology. And I am a very good mother. But it is interesting.
Ironically, I don’t think the kids will mind at all – either the hour a day for 2 months or the full week without tech. Our lifestyle ensures that we have at least an hour a day to bond and play with one another already, which is why I’m stepping it up a bit. The difficult part will be for my husband and I – there is no ‘copping out’ as a parent by turning on the TV or letting them play even educational games on the ipad. He will absolutely have a hard time without sports on TV. But I know we will hit a field to play the sports ourselves.
The only thing I don’t think we will include (besides the telephone for emergencies and communication) is music. We often have family dance parties and chats while listening to music, and I feel that it enhances our experiences with nature and each other. So…. Bets on! Who thinks we can do it? (Me especially!!)