Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Technology Is Awesome and It Is Not Awesome

I love technology (but maybe not as much as Ben).  We are hooked up to the internet so many ways at  our house including phones, ipad, computers and satellite t.v.  I have some awesome apps on my phone that help me use my brain like Words with Friends and Ruzzle.  I love listening to music without too much commercial interruption by using Pandora, I have the scriptures and other gospel resources at my fingertips with LDS Tools, Gospel Library, Mormon Channel and Indexing.  I can read from my favorite books while sitting in my car waiting for children to be picked up by using my Kindle, Deseret Bookshelf, or listening through Audible.  I take pictures of my kids and upload them to Instagram and Facebook with one click of a button and I rarely miss an e-mail because I get that on my phone too.  My State Farm Pocket Agent saved me from getting a ticket the other day because of no proof of insurance and I save money at Hobby Lobby with my coupon app.  I check my bank account from my phone and I can even watch movies from Netflix.  All these apps were free plus many others I use on a regular basis.  I absolutely love my phone and everything it does for me. 

But in the same breath I hate it.  I hate that I sometimes feel dependent on it. I wish I didn't feel like it is some sort of lifeline and I can't live without it.  I try to keep it in my purse or leave it upstairs while I am downstairs, but eventually it finds me and I get caught up in my technology love affair.

Many times I feel like I have lost all my manners.  I still remember when call waiting first became popular and I'd be talking to someone and another call would come in and the person I was talking to would say, "Hold on, someone else is calling," and put me on hold.  That might be innocent enough but what I heard was, "someone more important than you is calling so I'll get back to you."

When I drive in the car with my kids, sometimes I pull out my phone (if they are driving, not me) so I can hurry and get some e-mails answered during my "down" time.  If I'm driving, I tell them to pull out my phone and send a text for me.  What a wasted opportunity while I have my kid's undivided attention to talk to them.

The other night, the whole family was upstairs watching t.v. and I think Ben counted 4 of us on phones, one on his ipod and one on the ipad.  Talk about multitasking in the worst way...it's making me sick.

I think we've lost our ability to have real conversations one with another.  Our attention spans are growing shorter because we have to be using our phone while having a conversation.  It is frustrating me to death.  But guess what?  I still do it.  I know how I feel when I'm trying to talk to someone and they keep checking their phone. I feel so unimportant, as if they are waiting for something better to happen because I'm not interesting enough.  I'm completely guilty of it too.  I'm not laying blame anywhere I don't already have personal guilt.  I still have to remind my children that the kitchen table is a cell phone free zone.  Why do I have to keep repeating myself?  Because we are addicted.

My family is gonna hate me cause I'm cracking down. Starting today, there is going to be a new set of rules in our house.  So, if you can't get me on my cell phone, Facebook, blog comment, e-mail, text or house phone, just come over to my house and visit with me and I promise I won't pull my phone out and look at it.

Out of curiosity, what are your technology rules at your house?

3 comments:

  1. This is a tough one. I love it and hate it, too, and it's hard to know where to draw the line. Someone talking on the phone during a conversation with a live person is irritating and we do seem to be more removed from other people even when in the same room if a gadget is on. My concern is more for the addiction problems that can be created.

    We purposefully don't have phones that connect to the internet. They call and text and that's it. We have 2 computers, but no ipad. The kids can use the computer for homework and checking email, but no games until the weekend. All of our ipods are just for music (no internet), except one old i-touch. The owner of that really wants an upgrade, but I'm hesitant. Some days I think it would be awesome to have the world at my fingertips- and very convenient when I really need some bit of information. But, as I've never had it, I really don't know what I'm missing so I'm going to keep on missing for now. My husband currently serves as Bishop in our ward and he tells me regularly that the biggest problem with a porn addiction- creating one in the first place and getting over one once it's begun- is instant access to the internet 24 hours a day. He said it makes addiction much more likely and recovery almost impossible. It is something he deals with on a very regular basis with men and young men of all ages. From what he's learned, it takes until about age 21 or so for the brain of a young man to fully develop all its reasoning and logic abilities and they are much more likely to avoid addicting behaviors involving technology if they can get that far without them to begin with.

    We have 5 kiddos- 4 of them boys ages 11-17. Maybe I'm a coward or paranoid, but I just don't want to go there. They ask for iphones and their own laptops. I've told them that when they are back from their missions and want to be responsible to arrange for it and pay for it themselves, they're welcome to do so. Until then, it's my job to see that they get that far in life.

    I know not everyone agrees and that's fine. This isn't meant to tell others how to live their lives. I've just seen enough to know technology in its place is a very valuable tool. Out of control its a very dangerous weapon. The line between is sometimes a very fine one.

    Good luck with your crack down! Wish I could stop by for a visit. That would be fun!

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  2. Stacey,

    I think you are on to something. The key to the "crackdown" is that you and Ben will have to agree to the rules. If you can agree on a set of rules and then both stick to them and enforce them you can improve your home life. The first week will be - - - - and I am talking about you, not just the kids. :) Funny how it works that way, when our children have some annoying habit they usually learned it from us. Anyway, the first week will be awful, the first month will be really hard, but after that it will begin to get better. You can do it! I would love to hear an update in a month.

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  3. I feel you pain. But when it comes to our kids, technology is here to stay. It will always be a part of their life, even more than ours. So I feel that as their parent, it is my job to teach them how to use it properly. I want them to learn those lessons from me. So we do allow it in our home, but there are limits. My kids don't have smart phones. Do I think that smart phones are evil, no, but they're just not right for my kids right now. They have ipods that run through our home WiFi which is filtered and I have constant monitoring capability over that. Phones and ipods do not go with them when they go to bed. They turn them in to me. I have their passwords and they know that I look at texts and facebook accounts regularly. Picture messaging is disabled on their phones. They can only follow people that they know on Instagram. The computer is in the family room. No computers or TV in the bedrooms. Sundays we unplug altogether. No phones at dinner and no devices at family gatherings. No devices when we're in the car, unless we're on vacation. Time driving around town is precious conversation time. And scriptures are read with the real books.

    Those are some of our rules. And that's what works for our family. But even more important than the rules is my relationship with my children. I try to be present when I am with them. Whenever we are together I try to keep the conversations going. I know where they are and who they are with when they are away from home. I also try to get a feel for the technology rules and their friend's houses.

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