Tech Time Out: We Took the Pledge!
Back in June I shared with you that my family was about to take the pledge! The pledge I am referring to is the Tech Timeout Challenge by life insurance provider Foresters.
Tech Timeout Challenge (TTO) is an initiative with the goal of promoting families to put their electronic devices down and spend more quality time together. The average American household has 24 electronic devices within their home. This means that often each family member is plugged in at once.
Participating families are encouraged to disconnect from all their electronic devices for one hour a day to help spouses, parents and children build stronger bonds, communicate more personally and get more involved in each other’s lives.
Fast forward three months and our pledge has come to an end and I’m happy to share our experience with you today.
MY PREDICTIONS REALIZED
In my first post, I predicted that I would be the one to struggle the most with the pledge; turns out that I was right. As suspected I went into withdrawal without my iPhone even though it was just an hour a day, but as any addict knows, being told you can’t have something makes you want it more.
We found the best way to overcome this challenge was to get out of the house and do something outdoors. During the summer we all belong outside anyway, so I was thankful for the motivation to do so. Sometimes it is too easy to sit behind the computer to work and rely on a movie to entertain the kids.
HOW LONG WE LASTED
As with most new routines, we were really motivated at the start but as time passed it became harder to stay on top of our task. At first we missed a day and then we missed another day and so on and it became real work to carve out that hour each day. It’s not that we didn’t have the hour to spare; it was more that we weren’t so official in saying “now is our tech time out hour.”
Consciously I chose not to bring my phone with me when we were going out so that when Little S was playing at the park, I wasn’t inclined to grab it and distract myself. This proved to be priceless as I was able to spend more focused time with her and interact at a greater level.
Overall I am confident in reporting that we made it the whole summer but maybe not totally official. We definitely spent an hour a day without using any technology most days this summer.
OUR FAVOURITE ACTIVITIES
Because we live in a high-rise, it’s not feasible for Little S to run around outside alone like she would if we had a backyard; thus, we are already in the habit of leaving technology behind in favour of the park (except that I used to bring my iPhone with me), walks around downtown and so on.
We enjoyed going for walks to get some fro-yo, window shopping, walking to the grocery store instead of driving and so on. I knew we would not be successful just sitting around the house as technology is everywhere and it’s super tempting!
WHAT I LEARNED
Participating in the TTO confirmed for me that each member of family is very reliant on technology. From Little S’ iPod and LeapPad to my husband and I watching TV and movies, we are constantly using some form of electronic entertainment whether it’s at home or in the car. It was a little disheartening to realize that we needed to force ourselves to do without.
What I have taken away with me at the end of this adventure is that sometimes technology can drive you a little crazy and like everything else in life, moderation is the key. In today’s fast paced world, it might mean taking a pledge like the Tech Time Out to get this much-needed moderation. I’m also happy to pass on this attitude to my daughter so that she can carry this habit forward into her future.
If you haven’t taken the pledge yet, I highly recommend that you do so. You may be surprised by what you learn!
This post was generously sponsored by life insurance provider Foresters, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit www.techtimeout.com.