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My husband describes me as a luddite.

Don’t feel bad, I had to look it up, too.

Luddite:  A person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology

Yup, totally me. So long as there was running water, lights, and no ants, I’d have no problem moving into a shack in the jungle, far away from computers, phones, and televisions. Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but I am often times filled with loathing when it comes to how much these devices rule my life and I frequently find myself wishing them away.

I am upset that my kids get bored and turn to the TV or iPad despite a room full of toys and a big backyard. It saddens me that my husband looks more deeply into his phone or laptop screen than he does into my eyes.  I miss the excitement of finding letters from friends in the mailbox. I am disturbed by how disconnected we as a society seem to be from the ones close to us.  I deeply feel as though all this technology, all this convenience, is sucking the life out of our lives.  Instead, we are living second-hand, limiting our experiences to what can be found on the screen.

Am I coming off sounding like a nut job yet? My husband works in IT; computers are his job and his hobby, so I’m pretty sure I sound completely off my rockers to him. My children know of no other way, so anything different is just unfathomable.

I have been giving this a lot of thought lately, and I have come to the conclusion that it is my responsibility, my duty as The Mom, to expose my family to what life can be like without screens. I have decided to subject my family to a weekend without TV, tablets, or phones. I am calling it The Great Experiment.

This is Part I, the planning stage. I have not spoken to my children or husband about The Great Experiment yet. I have some details to work out still, like:

  • When? Now? Spring? Summer? What time will most likely yield the greatest success?
  • Activities? What can we do that will keep them distracted from the screens they’re missing? Should I have lots of things planned or just wing it?
  • Car trips? Would a long trip be a bad idea since the kids wouldn’t have access to their iPad, DVD player, Nintendo? Would that be asking too much from a 2-year-old and 5-year-old who are used to nothing different?
  • How to I approach them with the idea? I actually predict my husband to be the biggest obstacle. Am I ready for the battle?
  • Is it even fair of me to ask this of my family, my family who apparently sees no problem with the status quo?

*Sigh*

I really want to do this. I need to. I need a break from the seemingly constant intrusions and interruptions these devices impose on my family.

Have you done your own Great Experiment? Do you have any advice for this first-timer? If so, please share in the Comments section. I could use all the help I can get!

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3 Responses to The Great Experiment – Part I

  1. H.K.B says:

    I took all electronics (video games, nook, our old iphones, TVs, etc…) for 30 days. I reached the end of my rope with being ignored and tantrums when told they could use them when I did not want them to. At first they seemed a bit lost, but you know what, they found other things to do. They also seemed to be more genuinely “happy” – I am sure that may have been my interpretation of their moods at the time. They played with toys they had’t touched in forever, they asked to go outside, they hung out in the kitchen when supper was being made, and they were both more helpful with chores around the house. They have since regained their privelages, but every know and then, Chayton (age 6) will offer it as a form “punishment” – but I really believe he actually enjoyed the technology ban.

    I do know families that have a technology free day once a week where everyone is required to unplug themselves from their gadgets.