As the school year is in full swing now, and our schedules have filled with a million things to do, it can be really easy for technology to take over your time. Twitter, Facebook, email, Instagram, Vine, text messaging and new iOS to learn; all these things can suck you in so that work and ministry become a 24-7 gig. Technology is definitely not bad. And when it’s used in a healthy, balanced manner, it greatly enhances both ministry and life. But when you find yourself staring at an iPhone screen more than your family… something needs to change. This area has been a particular struggle in my own life, and one that I have by no means figured out. In this day and age you can’t completely disconnect from the world, but nor should you be so distracted by constant email pings and texts that you’re not present for your family. This technology conversation has a lot of gray areas and so it takes a fair amount of effort and communication to hash out. Here’s the main goal: Don’t allow screen time to replace face time. People need attention. They need you to be focused on them, listening, alert, and engaged. There is no formula or set of rules that you can follow to guarantee you’ll be great at paying attention. And chances are that as the capabilities of technology expand and integrate more and more into our daily lives, this will be an area you’ll have to work on a lot. As you talk with your family about technology, be sure to listen to each other's opinions and work together to create boundaries that fit your unique needs. Here are some things I’ve enacted in my own family life:
No technology at meal times. Phones are off or on vibrate, they are not sitting on the dinner table. Computers and iPads are closed and put away.
No charging in the bedroom. It’s really hard to have quality time when things keep buzzing, dinging, and drawing our attention away from each other. Plug in and charge the electronics in another room.
Work email goes to a work computer. For us it helped to not have ministry emails constantly dinging into the phone. It keeps us constantly “at work” even though we are at home.
The freedom to say no. We each have the freedom to express frustration if we feel the other one is being sucked too much into the technology tornado.
One Sabbath day. Technology is turned off and totally ignored one day a week. (In theory! This one is hard to do.)
What are some of the things you and your family are doing to not be so caught in the technology tornado?