A year ago, had you asked me if I would ever rely on a cell phone other than for emergency purposes I would have told you you were crazy. I never understood why people would need or even want to be connected to a cell phone 24/7. What was so important on facebook that it couldn’t wait until after a dinner party? Do you really need to respond to that e-mail immediately or can it wait until after the game? I really didn’t understand what the draw was to cell phones.
In April, we moved back to Canada, and decided to get cell phones. My husband needed all the fixing, so I decided to go with the same phone. I figured I would use it once in awhile to check my e-mail, maybe log in to facebook once in awhile, but I had no idea that it would turn in to a “life line” for me.
I was never a person that had to be connected, but suddenly I couldn’t turn off. I was sitting around watching tv, and checking facebook, checking my e-mails while waiting in line at the grocery store, and tweeting my every move. I was online more and more often while my son was around. If I didn’t check in I would feel anxious, feeling like I missing something. I quickly turned in to that person, I didn’t want and swore I would never become.
It made me think about the message I was sending my son. What am I teaching him, if I am constantly on my phone, or sitting behind a computer? Is it affecting our relationship, because I can’t turn off?
As part of today’s society it is hard to avoid all the technology. I have realized that its part of who I am today. Being a work at home mom, and co-founder of Ottawa Valley Moms, my job is spent behind a computer. I am lucky enough to have the option to work, and stay at home and raise my son. That being said I want to be productive with my time working and my time with my son, and find balance in this techno-savy world.
Honestly I don’t think its healthy how much we, myself included rely on technology. I think it has allowed us to de-skill in a lot of ways, because we have technology on hand to make corrections, and give us the ‘facts’ at every turn. I think its important that we as society look at how this could be affecting our relationships with not only our families but friends and co-workers. This has brought up a longing for the days without this instant connection; hearing a friends voice on the phone, receiving a letter in the mail, or visiting with a friend you haven’t seen in years. It seemed like that was a time of less confusion, less complications and more certainty. Today we are connected more than ever, reading about everyone’s every move on social media which is great. But do we sometimes forget to have that conversation in person?
This brings me to my concerns about raising children in this society. What role will I play in introducing technology and the pros and cons to my children? My son has already witnessed some healthy and unhealthy choices I have made and he isn’t even two yet. So how can I work, live, and breathe in a world obsessed with technology and be happy with where I am? After a lot of soul searching and some help from my husband, I came up with a plan so that I could do both.
I realized that being plugged in has a lot of benefits, benefits that I will some day teach my children. In the mean time, I will continue to spend quality time with my son. Quality time that involves me turning off and giving him my full attention, so that he knows he is my main focus in that moment. Most importantly I will keep that line of communication open so that he understands what we are doing and why, and so he can ask questions as the need arises. I want him to grow up knowing the benefits and the consequences of being constantly plugged in, so that he can make informed decisions when the time comes for him. I will hold myself accountable to the rules that I have put in place, so that I can maintain that balance in my life. There are enough hours in the day to balance each without letting them take over the other.
I often wonder what life would be like if I completely unplugged for a few days. Maybe this is a challenge for me to take down the road. Would you take this challenge with me?
Have you ever struggled to find balance between your family and technology? How did you find it? How do you feel about the way technology has become part of our every day lives?