Lately, I've seen a bunch of interesting articles about technology addiction, which is something that fascinates me not only because I publish a technology website for parents, but also because I think it can negatively affect your relationship with your kids and your spouse.
Not being able to put your darn phone away is one thing. But this New York Times article focuses on a study that found the overuse of technology can affect our ability to connect with others.
All the more reason to think long and hard about your technology habits, especially when it comes to your marriage.
A few months ago, I found myself a little too attached to my iPhone, not to mention my laptop, which to be fair I need for work, but also for entertainment. So I instituted some rules to help me keep my usage in check:
1. Schedule unplugged nights: We've declared a couple of nights a week to be "unplugged," when we turn off the computers, the phones, even the television and just hang out without any technological interruptions. I'm pretty sure it's changed our communication and interaction for the better. Plus, it really forces us to spend time together, which can be a challenge when you've got things buzzing and beeping at you.
2. Delete social media apps from your phone: While I run the social media for my business, I do all that work on my computer and found myself just scrolling and checking everyone else's business on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram instead of worrying about my own. While I did leave Twitter on my phone for work reasons, I got rid of Facebook and Instagram, which really freed up my need to have my phone in my hand and allowed me to reconnect with life.
3. Turn phones off after work until bedtime: I admit that I'm still working on this one, but I've got several friends who completely shut off their phones after work and don't turn them on until their kids are in bed. If you absolutely cannot turn them off, then only check at a specific time, and most certainly not at the dinner table or while you're doing bedtime with the kids. It's amazing how the lack of distractions can help you tune in better, not just to your spouse but to your children too.
4. Tweak your notifications: Just recently, I updated all my apps on my iPhone and suddenly I was getting notifications for every single tweet and direct message. And what is up with Facebook dinging? Gah! So I decided to turn down the sound and turn off my notifications so that my attention is not being interrupted by the constant barrage of pings and dings. This can really have an impact on your attention and focus.
5. Enjoy it now, share it later: As much as I love the advances in technology, the downfall is that they've made it easy to share everything you're doing at the exact time you're doing it, which makes it a lot harder to really enjoy your experience. So aside from getting an old school camera (remember those?) rather than using my smartphone for all my photos, I'm also reminding myself that all the experiences -- with my kids, with my husband -- can just as easily be shared AFTER they happen and not during.
How has technology affected your relationship?
Image via hyku/Flickr
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside