Technology A-Z
The Internet
Tech Hardware
Tech Software
Video Games
Protecting Your Children
Getting Help
The Online Mom Network

Learn about The Online Mom Network
Join The Online Mom Network
How Do I Become An Online Mom?

The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Unplugging from technology

By Paul O’Reilly

I don’t know about you, but I am becoming a little weary of reading about individuals or families that decide to “unplug” from technology. It’s certainly not a new idea, but each time a fresh tale of self-imposed digital exile emerges, reporters and other commentators greet it with wide-eyed amazement, as if a few months without an iPhone is akin to being trapped in a collapsed Chilean mine.

The latest offering is from Susan Maushart, a single mother of three who lives in Perth, Australia. Her book, titled The Winter of Our Disconnect, describes how her family was so distracted by digital technology that they rarely communicated, and then only via "textspeak." She then made the highly unpopular decision (among her kids, anyway) to cut the cord on technology.

Out went the smartphones, computers, video games, iPods, and TVs; and back came a forgotten world of talking, laughter, and even “looking into each other’s eyes.”

Of course, there is a limit to how much technology they were prepared to give up. There was still the house phone and the family car (the book doesn’t say whether they were allowed to listen to the radio while driving), and I’m sure all the essential appliances like the refrigerator, washing machine, and air conditioning system were purring along as usual.

But wait a minute, I hear you say, that technology is OK. It’s digital media that’s the problem – all that texting, web surfing, and time spent on Facebook!

But that’s the point – when it comes to technology, where do you draw the line? Is texting among teens inherently worse than the two-hour phone calls we used to have with our friends when we were kids? Is playing a Professor Layton video game really that much worse than playing Monopoly or Clue? Is using a Kindle really less worthy than reading a hard-backed book?

It’s not the technology, it’s how you use it. If Ms. Maushart and her family had to go cold turkey to break themselves of some of their worst digital habits, then perhaps we should feel sorry for them rather than laud their “achievement.” Fortunately, most families don’t have that problem. They use technology the way it was intended to be used, recognizing that we are now in the Information Age rather than the Stone Age.

All these tales of rediscovery, of families finding true enjoyment through books and board games, have one thing in common: they all end with the family giving up the experiment and going back to the same technology that they previously decried.

While the authors of these stories invariably claim that the self-imposed exile was an unqualified success and “changed their lives forever,” I suspect there was more than a sigh of relief when the TV came back to life and the iPhone started to vibrate again. There’s only one thing worse than a life full of digital media – and that’s a life without it!

Could your family disconnect from digital media for six months? Would you want to? Share your thoughts with The Online Mom!

Follow Paul on Twitter @TheTechDad

Comment by Shane Powell, posted 2/1/2011, 2:28 PM:

I know we couldn't make it for six months. Nor would we want to. But for those that are feeling the need for a board game to replace a video game consider a multi player game. That takes us into their world instead of asking them to come back to ours. Also boundaries of when texting and hand held games are allowed are important. If started from the beginning it doesn't become as much of an issue as if you wait for it to become a problem to deal with it. All things in moderation.
Comment by ellen, posted 2/1/2011, 12:24 AM:

I dont think we would have much of a problem. I would miss the computer of course, but the cellphone/games etc arent even an issue.
Comment by Suzanne Shaffer, posted 2/1/2011, 9:37 AM:

I would like to think we could, but I'm realistic to know it would be impossible, especially since my business is completely run online. Could they turn off the TV? Absolutely not. It wouldn't be too hard to give up the cellphone and texting, but disconnecting from all digital media would be an impossibility.
Thank you for submitting your comment. Your comment will appear on the site after it has been reviewed by site moderators!
Post a Comment:
Comments (max 500 characters):

Permalink | Print | Email

Share this article!
Partner with Online Mom Media
Online Mom Media specializes in building powerful communities of influencers! [read on]
Special Twitter Event
Join @theonlinemom this Thursday at 9pm ET as we introduce Thrively, a fun and interactive family web site! #Thrively
[read on]
Join the BUZZ!
Join @theonlinemom and friends this Friday at 12 noon PT as we look at Simplifying Mobile Tech. Great prizes! #VZWBuzz [read on]
The Online Mom Blog
Connecting Your Mobile Lifestyle
[read on]
Cómo encontrar en línea las mejores ofertas
Visite La Online Mom en Español! [read on]
Stacey Ross on The Online Mom
Catch up on the digital lifestyle with Stacey Ross!
[read on]
PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One: Parental Controls
Which of the new gaming consoles offers better parental supervision? [read on]
How To Make the Most of Those Daily Deals
Take a closer look at those daily deals to make sure you're getting a bargain!
[read on]
Watch Out! Your Wristband Is Tracking You…
New ways to monitor two of the most important elements that factor into our overall health: exercise and sleep [read on]
How To Beat Spam with Disposable E-Mail Addresses
There's an alternative to giving out your online information (or turning into a digital recluse): the disposable e-mail!
[read on]
Managing Your Online Reputation
There are some simple steps we can take to safeguard our online reputations [read on]
7 Apps for Finding Stuff Online
Loking to buy and sell online? Your smartphone can help!
[read on]
How to Manage Your Cell Phone Bill
Don't be overwhelmed by that cell phone bill. We offer 7 tips that can help [read on]
7 Social Networking Tips for Graduates
About to graduate? It's time to clean up those social networking accounts!
[read on]
The Best Apps for Staying in Shape
10 great apps for turning your smartphone or tablet into your workout buddy! [read on]
7 Steps to Smartphone Safety
Buying that first smartphone for your child? Make safety a top priority!
[read on]
10 Essential Apps for the Busy Mom
Turn your smartphone into your very own personal assistant! [read on]
Tweens and Facebook:
Do you think children under the age of 13 should be allowed on Facebook?

Not Sure

© 2011 the online mom, all rights reserved | site map ABOUT     MEET THE TEAM     CONTACT US     ADVERTISE     PRESS     PRIVACY     LEGAL
As you may have guessed, it is made of titanium and some stainless steel¡ªthe case is titanium and the rolex replica sale is stainless steel. The dial is brown, the watch hands are silver-toned, and there is a date window at the four o¡¯clock position. The sapphire case protects the breitling replica sale from water damage up to 30 meters. Synergy means cooperative action. This replica watches uk combines the best of the old and the new to deliver something uniquely modern. All of the classic elements are there. It has the sleek and stylish dial of the replica watches uk, the concave dot at the 12 o¡¯clock hour, and the Swiss quartz movement. But the Sapphire Synergy has something few breitling replica sale offer, a rubber wristband. Why rubber? Well, it¡¯s not a sport rolex replica sale, so using it outdoors is out of the question. But the informal band gives it a more casual look and feel, which can be quite appealing to the modern male.