Like most of us I love the new-year period. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start. It’s a time of restoration. It’s a time to set some new intentions.
I’ve set my goals, picked a theme word for the year and set some core-desired feelings. These are the things that I know that alot of us do at this time of the year.
But this year I’ve also done something different. I’ve set some tech-solutions (for myself and my family).
These are my new-year technology resolutions. I know that managing my gadget use is essential for me.
I need to consciously create healthy boundaries around how I use technology. Otherwise, I can get sucked into a digital vortex. I can easily become “digitally obese”.
And I know that this isn’t healthy or sustainable for me or my family. And it’s certainly not setting a good example for my children (because we know that they inherit our digital habits).
My 2015 Techsolutions:
- No email or social media first thing in the morning. I know that when I scroll through my phone first thing in the morning, or launch into emails, it starts the day on the wrong foot. Energetically, it just doesn’t feel right. I seem to adopt a frenetic energy. And for me, as an early riser (I get up at 4am), my brain is firing on all cylinders at this time, so it’s an important time to work (not just consume information as I do on social media or email checking).
- No screens in the 60 minutes before bed. If you’ve ever heard me present a Parent or Teacher Seminar you know that I stress that children really need to have a 90-minute period before bed that’s screen-free. I’ve tried this, but sometimes it’s not do-able. So I’m setting myself a realistic goal and saying that all of my devices will be switched off at least 60 minutes before bedtime each night (please boot me off Facebook if you see me responding at night!).
- Sacred screen-free time each day. I’ve tried “Screen-free Sundays” and “Screen-sabbatical Saturdays”, but it just hasn’t stuck. I find it too restrictive to specify an exact day of the week in advance (and if I’m really honest, adhering to a whole day is sometimes really difficult). Instead, I’m committing to regular screen-free time each day. Over the summer holidays I realize how important this time is for me. Now that I’ve taken up surfing I need lots of time to practice, so it’s the perfect opportunity to unplug from devices, even if only momentarily. I know that my brain is better after a tech-break so I’m planning more of these in 2015. I’m just not specifying when they’ll be each week.
- Car= screen-free zone. I certainly don’t use my phone whilst I’m driving unless I’m taking a call on hands-free. But I’m raising my hand to say that I have previously been known to check my email or respond to email whilst sitting at the lights waiting. I know, I know that’s not good (especially with two pairs of eyes watching on form the backseat). So it’s going to stop. I’m going to put my phone in the glove-box whenever I drive now, just so there’s no temptation to pluck the phone out “just quickly”.
- Social Hours. Another guilty confession from me. I sometimes use social media too much (and justify it telling myself it’s for “work purposes”). I noticed during my summer screen sabbatical, just how conditioned I’d become on scrolling through my Facebook or Instagram feeds. It was a like a guilty indulgence. So this year, I’ve scheduled in set times each day where I can use social media. This gives me clear parameters as to when I can use it, so that it doesn’t end up as a continuous, all-day activity (please feel free to remind that I shouldn’t be on Facebook if you see me lurking or commenting during the day…I’m still working on this one).
Mr 4’s Techsolutions:
- School days= screen-free days. Please let me preface this one by saying that this doesn’t have to be the hard-and-fast rule at your house. But for us, I’ve noticed that screens before school disrupt our rhythm. I know the minute Mr 4 uses the iPad (even if just for 10 minutes) the more chaotic our mornings are to get ready for pre-school. And they’re crazy enough as they are. We started off with this media habit in 2014, but became a bit lax towards the end of 2014. So it’s time to set up the new year the right way.
- Increased interactivity. Mr 4 LOVES watching You Tube (yes, it often surprises people to know that even children’s technology experts allow their children to watch You Tube). He loves watching animal and dinosaur documentaries, with a side of machinery videos (as many little boys do). But I know that this is very passive use of technology (which is fine and isn’t going to “hurt” him for short periods of time). I know that he’d benefit so much more from more interactive technology experiences. So this year, we’re making a concerted effort to ensure that the passive use of technology is superseded by more interactive experiences. I’ve created a folder on the iPad with specific apps that he likes and are more interactive than You Tube. I’ll share insights of these on Facebook, Instagram and You Tube, so you can benefit too. If you’re after the best apps check out my eBooks.
- Don’t use technology as a boredom buster. I’ll admit that the “media creep” began over the holidays. In between stints at the beach, reading books, playing with his machinery and animals, Mr 4 started to use the iPad or watch TV more than usual. My husband and I were in holiday mode and we let it slide for a couple of weeks. But we noticed how quickly he wanted more and more of it. Technology can be very “enticing” for young children and they can quickly form poor habits (note, I didn’t necessarily say “addictive”). This motivated me to test drive a “Bored Board”- a menu of screen-free activities from which he can select when he’s feeling “bored”. And it’s worked a treat.
I’d love to know what your, or your family’s techsolutions are for 2015. Share them below in the comments so that we can keep each other accountable.