Each week I try to have either Saturday or Sunday off the computer, tablet and phone (although this can be very tough). I do this to have a break and to actively fight against fear of missing out (FOMO). This is a source of anxiety for many people and some years ago I experienced it myself. Thankfully circumstances meant I was able to have enough distance to realise what has happening. Although I keep in touch with many people via Facebook and other social media apps, my offline weekend day is always peaceful and pleasant. Nothing happens that is urgent enough that phone call won’t catch me.
I’m amazed by how many people are glued to the computer of a weekend and rather than get amongst it, they’re stuck, isolated at home with the mistaken perception they are engaged with people. Given this is social media’s focus then it seems like the machines are winning (the tiny computers we lug around everywhere anyway). I’m not in the position to judge people though – I’m just here to share my experience so that you might find some benefit from it.
My normal week is very sedentary – I average (according to the Apple Watch) about 5 or 6 thousand steps a day. On the weekend it’s more like 13,000 or higher – and it’s all outside, up and down the hills, dragging around the whipper snipper or shovel and getting into it. It’s great. Hard work and real results at the end without gluing myself to a device or a screen. I especially love getting out and doing some 4WD’ing, but I’m very bad at chronicling these escapades so you wont’ see much of it here, or anywhere else for that matter. I find it requires a lot of focus to be videoing stuff while I’m trying to just enjoy it! Living in the moment is a focus for these weekends. I drag the kids around with me, having fun little experiences here and there while trying to instil some work ethic in the little tykes. Not always successful I’m the first to admit, but at least they’re not stuck in the house looking at boring stuff on TV.
I feel a sense of wariness about letting too much screen time into the kids’ lives. There is plenty of research about the effects of too much on child brain development, and it should be noted plenty of adults become the walking dead after too much phone/tablet/tv time. Where possible we allow the kids to be outside doing whatever they want (reasonably of course) which sometimes means they get hot and bothered, extremely dirty or smelly or both or all these things but they have a good time. Now that I can stick them in the back of the ute they are even more delighted about coming to do stuff with dad. Plus we go to some great spots and I’ve been careful to try and picks places where there is a bit for them to do and be engaged in.
But back to the technology off thing – there are many more benefits than detractions by having a day or two off technology. I’ve missed out on things – it’s true. But I’ve caught up and haven’t really missed anything. When I point out I’ve been in places like above and below, most folks are a bit jealous than unhappy!
I can sit beside this river, have a coffee and read, or later in the afternoon knock back a stubby or three… or be on social media. I’m pretty happy with my decision 🙂 I only took this photo to show how lovely the spot is. It even has swimming steps that you can see in the middle of the picture. The water is far to cold for me – it comes out of the bottom of the Hume Weir and is about 3C! No swimming in this for the kids either – the current is really quite fast. So here’s cheers to another weekend of minimal technology usage, and a refreshed mind for the week ahead!