device time

photo credit: Ofcom

I love technology; laptops, smartphones, tablets, and their A.I.s like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. What I don’t like is the hold they can have over all of us, especially our kids. I’ve noticed that they become almost obsessive in their efforts to get more device time.

In my household, we have an almost daily discussion/debate/fight over how much time my 8 year-old can spend on the devices. Even though we have set time limits, he will try to negotiate more time especially when his time on the device ends.

These discussions/debates/disagreements are not always pleasant and more times than not extremely frustrating for all of us.

I have started tracking how each of us in our household contributes to this non-productive use of time and what brings us back to harmony.

I feel at this stage of technology use, we need to get control over our existing obsessive tendencies if we are to have any hope of handling the next generation of devices.

Here’s some food for thought: we are now fully in the handheld stage and experimenting with wearables, and the cost associated with Virtual Reality has plummeted, making the experience of Virtual Reality affordable for almost anyone.

Augmented Reality is at our fingertips as well. The latter adds layers of filtered data and information between you and the world around you. The former blocks it out completely, replacing it with frenetic sensory overload.

If we can’t stop ourselves from focussing all our attention on the box in our hand, how are we supposed to break away from a virtual sensory experience so total and complete?

I would like to share 2 techniques to get us started on retaking control of our relationship with technology.

1 Open focus – after being on a device, whether checking Facebook likes or uploading Instagram photos or playing open your focus, come back into your body. Do this sooner rather than later. Look around the room, notice colors, textures – connect to your environment through your senses and movement, and consciously shift the energy from being focused in your head/mind to the rest of your body. *With kids jump around, play tag, roll like a log on the ground to get the blood moving throughout the body.

2 Breath works – if you feel a pull to stay on the device or to keep checking every few minutes, or you have been working on a computer for a long period of time this breathing exercise is super handy to reorient your senses and reset your overtaxed nervous system.

This breathing exercise works well with kids especially if they are being particularly difficult (kids can be this way even if they haven’t been on a device).

Breathe in through your nose. Pause. Breathe out through your mouth. And here’s the trick – always make the exhalation longer than the inhalation. Even after a few breaths, you will feel yourself returning to sanity and with solutions.

Our future includes existing technologies and much more yet to come. We don’t want to avoid them because they provide great services to us and improve our lives in so many incredible ways.

That is their job.

It is our job to be vigilant and not disappear into the technologies like ghosts in a shell.

It is our job to be in the world and of the world; to enjoy life through the experiences our bodies create through our senses and awareness. It is up to us how much technology we incorporate into our lives. However much we do incorporate, let’s do it consciously and purposefully.

Thanks for reading. Now it’s your turn. How do you navigate your time on devices? Do you consider yourself pro technology or against it? Let is hear your thoughts in the comments below.