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Taking a Technology Time Out

Believe it or not, it was ME, the mom, who this family activity was directed at.
7 Abr 2016 – 07:27 AM EDT

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Drop the phone Crédito: Dreamstime

"All right, everyone, put your phones in the middle of the table and you can't pick them up until we leave."

The rest of us dutifully put our phones in a pile. The waiter came by and smiled.

Believe it or not, it was ME, the mom, who this family activity was directed at. My daughter was sick of me constantly being glued to the phone so she insisted on a technology break. It became a ritual that we incorporated into our family time.

In this day and age, so much of our daily life is woven around a hand-held device, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. We've been so conditioned to interact with electronic devices that it becomes a given norm. It's rare to find someone without a smartphone. We now have to s chedule breaks from technology throughout our day. Technology is shaping the way we think, behave, and react. We often scan quickly through information because there's so much of it. It's even a problem in schools, especially in schools where they've reduced recess time or done away with physical education. I've subbed in classrooms where kids are using tablets for most of their day, and not just as communication devices.

So what do you do if your kid (or you) is tethered to technology? You take a break.

You'll have to get creative. Physical, hands-on activities are best. Of course, you can book a trip to a remote island and really get away, but it doesn't have to cost an arm and leg to have fun as a family. Schedule a day trip and do fun activities in the car. Go for a sunset walk in your town--find the best place for a sunset. Get sheets of drafting paper from a local business and have a coloring session. Get a huge blank canvas and paint together as a family (either with brushes or your hands)--then hang the masterpiece in the family room. Do a 5K for a good cause. Volunteer at a local organization. Host a play group, pizza night, teen night--you name it.

Ditch the Heads Up and play a good, old-fashioned game of Charades. Haul out the board games or play some cards. Go swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, skiing, skating, sledding--whatever floats your boat as a family. Try something you've never done before. Yup, the family that plays together, stays together as the saying goes.

I know when my eventual grandchildren come along, it's going to be a challenge to keep technology away until they're older. I already see this challenge with my niece's little one--he's an expert in navigating smartphones despite his parent's best efforts to keep it away from him.

As for me, I'm fighting my own constant urge to play with technology and learning to play for play's sake alone. My escape is to find nature around me and take the time to relax and reflect.

The problem is...I take my phone with me so I can capture photographs.