February 4, 2011

Guidelines #2: Technology

So here's a tougher one. After all, this is 21st century America. To not be plugged in at all hours of the day is crazy, right? I don't think so. I think my family and I can make do with less modern technology. So, what are the guidelines?

1) Less television. I admit I'm not willing to completely cut the cable. My husband is a sports junkie; I'm not going to take that away from him. And, honestly, I enjoy some mindless drivel from time to time. I am, however, going to turn it off instead of using it as company when I'm home alone or the boys are napping. I'm going to make sure my sons know how to entertain themselves without staring blankly at a screen and that the next cartoon is not the only thing they are looking forward to.

2) Less computer time. Obviously I'm writing a blog, so I'm going to be on the computer. I also have an online store to sell my arts and crafts. Those things are not going to change. I will still be using email and Facebook to stay in touch with folks on a daily basis. However, I'm going to strive for more face-to-face and handwritten communication. I'm also not going to spend time mindlessly surfing. The computer is a tool and that's how I plan to use it.

3) Phones. This one is easy. We have a land line which we will keep for every day use. My husband and I have already switched to prepaid cell phone plans since we use our cells phones so rarely. I don't need a fancy phone. There is absolutely no reason for me to have one. My laptop is sufficient for my internet needs and if I'm bored I can talk to the people with me, read a book, or just wait patiently rather than playing games and other apps.

4) Other stuff. My husband has an iPod Touch. My older son loves it. I already try to limit his use of it and my husband humors me by not playing with it all the time...mostly. We do not have a video game system in the house. My older son has a Leapster handheld that he is allowed to play occasionally. I have a Nintendo DS that I play once every few months. For us, nothing else is necessary. We have all played video games at friends' houses and will continue to do so when invited, but we don't need one of our own. When, at some point, the boys start the inevitable campaign, we will tackle the issue head-on and reasonably. 

I'm sure I've missed things, but this doesn't need to be comprehensive. My goal is not to return to an earlier century, but to make sure that my kids grow up happy and healthy. I'm not ever going to give up modern technology or go "off-the-grid", but I'm going to make sure that those kinds of things don't ever replace what's truly important: time with family and friends, time spent really knowing the people and world around us in a deeper way.


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