{Dis}Connect

This week I read a lot of material regarding being plugged into the web, social media, and our phones.  The amount of studying and research that has gone into this topic is pretty amazing and scary at the same time.  The fact that we are so reliant on being plugged in these days is pretty sad.

While I do think that all generations can be affected by being too plugged in, I think the younger generation (Millennials) have more issues with this than the older generations.  I notice that whenever I’m around a Millennial, it’s a lot tougher to have an uninterrupted conversation.  Similar to what was written in the article What Happens When Teens Try to Disconnect From Tech For Three Days, so many of them develop visible anxiety when they can’t open up their phone to check their messages or social media accounts.  It’s almost like they can’t even function without knowing they have their phones right at hand.

Me, on the other hand, I love when I accidentally leave my phone at home.  Initially it causes some anxiety, but I definitely find myself being more productive without it. Honestly, if I didn’t have kids, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t carry my phone with me every day.  My wife and I currently work at the same place, so she’s just an email or a phone call away.

I also really enjoy when we go somewhere that doesn’t have cell reception.  For example, we try to go camping at Medicine Bow National Forest every summer.  Typically, the place we camp doesn’t have any cell service.  It really is probably the most liberating time of the year, not only for me, but for my wife and kids as well.  Not that our kids use electronics ALL the time, but it’s nice to know that it isn’t even an option when we’re up there.

In the article Why You Feel Terrible After Spending Too Much Time On Facebook, I feel like I must have been part of the Austrian study.  It doesn’t matter how much time I spend on Facebook (or on my phone in general) I almost always feel guilty afterwards.  But on the other hand, it feels like it’s a reflex – almost like I can’t stop myself from using my phone to kill time.

This is something that I would like to try to resolve in our house.  In the article Bored…And Brilliant? A Challenge To Disconnect From Your Phone the author mentions an app called Moment.  My wife and I are going to install this app and see how much time we are dedicating to our phones.  Hopefully this will help us modify some of our behaviors and set better examples for our three kids.

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