Phones, Social Media, and Me.

I want to spend more time in the new year actually sewing those quilts, making those clothes, and living a more simple life, than I do creating a virtual inspiration board of them.

This morning I read an article about how two of Apple’s largest investors are pressuring the company to address issues of phone/technology  and social media addiction in kids.  This is the second article on this issue that has caught my eye in the past week.

As parents we have chosen to not allow our children to have phones.  A decision which has been lamented loudly by our oldest two children who are now in middle school.  They are certain that they are the last two children left on the planet without smart phones and Facebook.  You should see the eye rolling when I point out that our Amish friends don’t have those things either, so technically they are not the last children on earth to not have them.

We briefly dabbled in letting them have some hand me down iPhones that behaved like iPods with connectivity only when wifi was available.  It didn’t take long to see the error of that choice.  Being a parent in this tech age is not an easy thing.  It feels almost impossible to protect your children when the internet is available to them.  And the societal pressure to allow your children this access can feel overwhelming at times.

For instance, we have noticed that because all of our children’s friends have their own phones and prefer to text one another instead of calling to talk, and because our children do not have texting (unless they use my phone) they often do not hear from them.  And, if I call into the school to give my kids a message it sometimes feels like the secretaries have forgotten that parents used to do that all the time.

The problems and situations I fear for my children with smart phones and social media are because I have either seen them in myself or experienced them myself.  I grew up before cell phones were something anyone but the very wealthy had, when texting was passing notes in class, and no one had 24 hour access to everyone else’s business.  Where children and adults were comfortable making a phone call and having a conversation.  Now, I find myself opting to text someone rather than taking the time to make a phone call to them!

I’ve broken up with Facebook many times, including just this week.  I got an account about 5 or 6 months ago because I found that all of the news and event updates for many of our kids organizations were only being communicated via Facebook.  After missing out on a few things I broke down and signed up for it again.  All was good for a while but then, like all addictive behaviors, checking Facebook began creeping into more and more of my day.  I know that many people can handle having social media, I, myself cannot.  I find that I end up feeling badly about my life and looking for ways to paint a prettier picture of it.  I do have an Instagram account, and I love the amazing photos that people take and post there.  Well and I guess I technically have a Facebook account for 13 more days until they delete it, but that is not the point here.  The point is that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, whatever it is can suck me in and then I’ve spent so much time scrolling through other people’s lives that I have carpel tunnel and no idea what anyone in my actual real life house has been doing for the past two hours.  I’m not a good parent or person when I’m answering, “uh-huh” or “just a minute” instead of being present for the little people around me who are quickly growing up into not so little people.

I’m not saying that smart phones and social media are inherently bad.  I mean, it is pretty awesome to be able to access information the way that we can when we have a question or problem.  But for myself and for my family I can see that they can be very damaging.  So, in the new year I’ve come up with some boundaries.

The first is that my blogging/pinterest searching/Instagram gazing time happens early in the morning before anyone is up.  I like to get up early, before anyone else in the house is awake and have some time to myself.  I use that time to drink coffee in the quiet, spend some time with my Bible, and I’ve committed myself to an hour of writing every day.  After that, when the kids and my husband are awake, those things are set aside.  I’m really striving to be more  present.  To be fully engaged in the now, even if that now happens to be four kids with cabin fever making each other crazy (ier).

To accomplish this I’ve made a point of keeping my computer in the office, and I’ve made a phone basket where my smart phone gets placed when I’m in the house.  So if you are trying to get ahold of me and there is no text response – the phone is probably in the basket and I’ve forgotten where I put it.

I love to look at Instagram and Pinterest and create visual inspiration boards.  I enjoy being inspired by other people’s blogs, and learning from them.  However, I want to spend more time in the new year actually sewing those quilts, making those clothes, and living a more simple life, than I do creating a virtual inspiration board of them.  So I am making a commitment to myself to spend time making and doing and living the life I want and not just planning it.

 

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