Time out: Noun: a pause from doing something (as work); “we took a 10-minute break”; “he took time out to recuperate.” respite, break, recess; pause – temporary inactivity.
There’s been a lot of talk on my Twitter and Facebook timelines about having some technology free time. A regular period of time where we are screen free; all technological gadgets and equipment turned off. It comes at an interesting time for me, as this weekend has seen several discussions between my husband and I about how much time we are spending on our phones and iPads. On Saturday I witnessed both of boys climbing up their father’s legs whilst he looked up something on the internet on his phone. I saw my daughter roll her eyes again as I picked up the iPad just to have a peek at Twitter. I saw us through my children eyes, and it did not make me feel good.
Social networking, the internet, the television and more are all available 24 hours a day seven days a week and unless we switch them off they will not be silenced. We went out as a family to enjoy the sunshine yesterday morning and as I wondered around Victoria Park in Bath I observed a ridiculous number of parents looking at their phones whilst their children played and called out to them to ‘look’ and see what they were doing; and often when the parents did look it was through the lens of their phone’s camera – including me.
Photos are extremely important, I love having an in depth record of my children’s lives so far – but I must admit I don’t sit and pour through photos of my childhood – everything is firmly imprinted in my mind, And I’d like the same to be true of remembering my children.
And what are we afraid of if we put our phones down? Missing an important call? Missing a mention or a tweet? Missing having access to the news and weather? Would it really harm us if we weren’t so accessible? If we switched off, zoned out and focused on what was happening right in front of our very eyes? Those messages will still be there hours later, but what is happening then and there will not.
I think that the thought of turning off our electronic devices panics many. But for my family, panic or not, it has become a necessity for us. We need to switch off. It’s all too easy to escape into a different world and shut out the real one. My children are growing up painfully quickly and I don’t want to miss a second. They deserve our time, our energy, our devotion…at all times!
So starting this week we are going to have technology time out. Daily from after school until the children go to bed. Then also at the weekend; phones and iPads will be switched off and put away. And family time will be family time. I think it may be quite refreshing…I’ll let you know how it goes!
What about you, do you think we all rely on technology too much and miss the world around us at times?
Imagine you had just won the lottery, or had a delightful little windfall… Imagine the world of Christmas shopping is your oyster and all of your children’s Christmas wish list dreams could come true… Where would you shop, and what would you buy?
I know at this time of year every parent is embroiled in the dilemma of what to buy their little treasures for Christmas. So far mine have asked for new beds with ladders and slides, cars, a new house, some earrings, a dog and…an iPad .
Out of all of the above, the one I am most likely to plump for – if I had the money – would be an iPad. Whilst I’d love to furnish a brand new house with slides and ladders, essentially turning my home into one giant softplay, an iPad seems by far the safest and easiest choice. Yes yes, I know they are expensive and if you’ve got more than one child the thought of buying them one each is rather terrifying, BUT – remember the opening sentence, we are looking at this from the point of view of someone who has the money!!
We have two iPads in my house, gifts from Christmas past before I went on extended maternity leave and had money 😉 I’m currently writing this on mine now and the other one is shared between my husband and our three children. All of their independent apps neatly filed away into their own personal sections. I think iPads are absolutely fantastic. They are both educational, and enjoyable! Technology is, as they say, the future. Children need to be tech savvy and many schools (I know the one I work in does) and nurseries now have iPads to be used as part of the teaching and learning process. From an internet safety point of view it is so easy to set up the parental controls; for every app, videos, songs and the internet. These settings can be done for a variety of different ages as well, so it’s not all or nothing.
There are of course many other tablets available, and they are also brilliant. The huge variety of apps you can buy or download for free also help to make them as amazing as they are. There is literally an app for everything. I mean…there’s even an app where you can turn your heating on when you’re not even in the house! Goodness only knows what they’ll think of next. If it was up to me, and apps could do anything, it would be these five… (use your imagination and go with me on these!)
1) Coffee-o-meter: I would love an app that somehow produced a cup of yummy coffee for me whenever I needed one. It would detect my energy levels and produce the perfect mug when I began to flag. Maybe it could switch to wine production after the children are all in bed…
2) Make me up: I love make-up – and let’s face it, it would be cruel of me to leave the house without any on – and would buy an app that applied the perfect make-up to my face every time I left the house. Not sure this would ever be possible though, maybe I’d need a robot for this job instead?!
3) Clean the place: Urgh I hate housework, which is ironic given that at the moment I am a housewife! If there was an app that could control my vacuum cleaner by remotely I would be a very happy woman! How I’d love a self cleaning toilet alongside this too!
4) Diet Buddy: This app would absorb all the excess calories I ate. Or maybe give me a gentle electric shock every time I reached for the biscuit tin or cheese shelf in the fridge. Hmm, no, not gonna work this one is it? I’d endure a lot before I put the chocolate down.
5) Find my stuff: The remote control, my phone, keys, my mind. This app would entrust that I never lost anything again as it would have details of where everything I owned ever was! I think this one might just be my favourite!
Maybe one day our tech savvy children will invent these delightful apps, now wouldn’t that be the perfect Christmas gift?! 😉
This post was written for John Lewis, for which I was compensated.