Un-plugging my family

Hillary - posted on 06/05/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Tonight marks the last night of technology for us. I am taking my kids back to simpler (although not neccessarily convenient) way off life. The tv is being turned off (except the 13 channels I grew up on, better pray the president isn't on or you're screwed), no computers, no internet, no video games. They will have to rely on their imaginations and the wonders of the great outdoors to kep them entertained. Growing up we may not have had the convenience we do now, and we may not have been the safest (hello lawn darts) but we all grew up happy and are able to appreciate what we have, I don't think my kids have that appreciation and I have come to realize that all of us are too reliant on technology to keep us happy. I miss kick the can in the dark, hide and seek throughout the neighborhood, road hockey, bike riding just for fun, nicky nicky nine doors (although the neighbors may not have liked that one), climbing trees, running barefoot down the streets, having the freedom to make my own mistakes and live with the consequences and learn from them. Road trips where we weren't watching movies but playing traffic bingo and I spy. Singing to the music and being embarassed when my parents joined in. Impromptu games of baseball and soccer, not practices or scheduled games,but playing just because a group of us needed something to do. Dancing in the rain and splashing in puddles. Forts in the living room with cookies and milk on really rainy days. Baking from scratch, not a package. Drinking kool-aid and pop and not worrying that something in it might cause cancer. Enjoying treats without being thought of as careless because they aren't healthy. Take off after chores as long as we were home by dinner time. Never being bored because I was kept busy with chores, responsibilities and the freedom to be a child. Keeping in touch meant talking to someone, not texting. When mail was handwritten and wasn't full of lol's, wtf's, and idk's, but real words with real heart! Family dinners where we ate great food and enjoyed each others company. Watching the clouds in the sky to see what shape they would make. Together time was face to face and not monitor to monitor. I miss what life was like when we were less connected to the world, but more connected to the ones we love. I want my kids to be kids, I want them to fall down, get up and remember why they fell down and how to change to keep from falling again. Although not pleasant I want them to be picked last and understand life isn't always fair, that sometimes they will get hurt feelings, but that they will be okay, that they may not finish first or win a ribbon, but with more practice they might win next time. I don't want them feeling like everything should be handed to them, that they need to work hard to earn what thay want. They need to feel the pain of failure to truly understand the wonder of success. I am taking my kids back to when kids were parented not befriended, when we knew what was right or wrong and when we messed it was our fault, no one elses. So I must say good-bye for now. I am embarking on this journey with my children, who may be unhappy now, but will hopefully understand what they are missing by being plugged in and sheltered. See you all on the other side, and if you need us, stop by for coffe, or give a ring.

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Louise - posted on 06/07/2012

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I think we would all like to do this in theory, but in practise this is not going to work for your kids. It is an age of technology, all of their friends are going to be watching tv and playing computer games, doing their homework on the computer and surfing the net for knowledge. They will have no other kids to play with, who will come around to play when to the other kids they will have nothing to offer.

Your dream to raise your kids, like kids from the 80's sounds lovely to me, but to them it is going to be torture. I think I will settle for strict times of computer and tv access and eat together every meal. I have to adapt as well to the needs of children these days and not be stuck dreaming about my childhood. It is a different world out there now. Not a better or worse one but different.

I wish you well in your venture and I will be interested to know how long it lasted!

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Sherri - posted on 06/07/2012

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good luck!! I honestly in this day in age especially if your children are school age doubt this a forever thing. It just isn't feasible in this day and age for it to be an everyday forever way to live.

Hillary - posted on 06/07/2012

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We did this experiment back in April 2010. I just happened to stumble across the note I had written and decided to post it. We had set a minimum limit on it of one week. I figured that would be long enough for a trial, but it wound up lasting closer to two weeks, and in a way continues now. I will say, there is probably a couple things that helped in our success. One, we lived in a small town, this made it easier to access kids to play with. Two, my kids at the time were 8, 6, 4 and 2. Three, it just so happened that ski season wasn't over yet, so we got to distract them a couple days by going boarding! And four, my kids had not been stuck on the tv or internet, they were already the type of kids who would rather be outside than inside. Also, in our town, it was not a crime to allow your children to walk to school by themselves, or go to the park on their own, or even go to the store to buy a treat! It was the best couple weeks we have had. My kids are now 10, 7, 5 and almost 4. What happened on those two weeks was wonderful. The other parents rallied around my family after reading my post to fb. We wound up having many games of road hockey with over 20 kids showing up. The kids would phone up a bunch of other kids and let them know they were going to the park and then they would head over there, and not once did no other kids show up. Since we un-plugged, we still have not hooked up the TV. It has become a special treat for watching movies once in awhile. The internet is completely restricted. They do not go on it all during the week, and are allowed a total of 1 hour on the weekends. It is up to them if they use the whole hour at once, or spread it out. I do get it is a different world, I do all my banking online, so I need the internet to pay my bills. We just recently moved thirteen hours away from both mine and my husbands families, people we have been around almost daily for the last 10 years, so the internet keeps us in touch and them in the loop with our kids. But I disagree with saying no kids would come play with my kids because they would have nothing to offer. I feel that my kids should not have to buy their friendships, and they have lots to offer. Just not technological things. They have many friends and most of the time are outside playing soccer, or jumping on the trampoline, climbing trees, biking down the road and just enjoying being kids. We sit down every day for dinner, I have an advantage of being a stay at home mom, so I have plenty of time to do the things I remember my mom doing for me. I am not against having television, or internet or video games (they can pass up internet time for a chance to play the ps3), it just wasn't for us. We do live a simpler life, we bake all our own bread, have a veggie garden for all our veggies and my kids have discovered the wonder of creating masterpieces in the kitchen since if I can make it, I won't buy it. My kids may not be able to talk about the latest shows on tv, and they know how to find an encyclopedia to do research, but they do also know how to use the internet to get the information they need. They will hopefully take these memories and pass them on to their kids. I hope they can continue slow down enough to enjoy life instead of just blowing through. An age of technology is fine, and it has many avantages, but to me, and I am not trying to argue or say I'm right, just saying my views, it is not worth everything they are losing. Like I said, we use it when we need to, and my kids can play a video game and kick my butt and they know more about my phone than I do (I think because they don't have the fear of wrecking it...lol), and I don't tell them that they can't play games if they go to a friends house, but the things we gain, like getting lost because we didn't use the GPS and trying to find our way back laughing the whole time about how hard maps are to read. The conversations we have while travelling are better than any show we could watch, we have nothing in our van to entertain them, books and road games are the only things they are allowed. So yes, this did work for our family and my kids are not missing out on anything and it has been anything but torture for them! That may change as they approach the teenage years, and we will cross that bridge when it comes, but I hope we can continue to show them their is more to life than the technological advances our society is making.

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