Recently I did the unthinkable – I put myself, my husband and my two sons on a technology detox! As I packed every device away, I literally had a lump in my throat and felt uneasy about what was to come. It had been building to this point for about two months – after our move to another country. If we felt lonely or had feelings come up that were uncomfortable to feel – like missing family and friends – we resorted to filling ourselves up with Internet, social media, TV, movies and gaming devices. I had found myself going to my iPhone several times in just an hour. The need to connect with people was strong.
I realised that when I was tired, stressed or lonely, I would go and turn the telly on….. ahh, relief…. I could lose myself in a program or movie. Even though I personally didn’t watch much TV, I felt the most desperate when I made the choice to take away the remotes.
Before and After Our Technology Detox
After the initial shock for my sons aged 10 and 11 (which lasted all of 5 minutes), they understood that it was something for us all to experience – what life was like without the distractions of technology. Before the detox, even with time limits they would check out on gaming devices, lack focus, be disorganised and have a fogginess. Once they accepted the fact of the detox, they immediately looked around their rooms and found things they used to play with. They played marbles outside, kicked a soccer ball, played with lego, went to the park and did experiments.
The first morning after beginning our technology detox, I woke up with a smile on my face – I felt an instant freeing feeling. Everyone felt amazing and so did the house – sounds too good to be true? Well it truly was just like that: everyone still had issues with the decision, especially the boys, but it was like this weight had been lifted off us all. Usually I would wake up and reach for my phone beside me to check something, even if it was just the weather! One son would get up and turn on a TV program and the other would join him or play on his iPod. I realised we were all literally hooked into technology in different ways.
How do you know what you are like with something if you don’t have the time without it to feel and see the difference?
We were able to see each other for who we truly are without all the distractions of TV, phones, gaming devices, etc, and hiding behind them.
The boys completed their homework with no pushing, were super organised in their rooms and ready for their day at school. What was very clear to see and feel also was that the fogginess that is usually there was completely gone – our eyes sparkled! We were all left to feel what our bodies wanted to do.
We cooked together and ate as a family, talked about our days and shared our feelings. We went to sleep earlier than usual as we were free to feel how tired we were instead of getting drawn into a TV program at night and going past that time when you really feel to put yourself to bed. During the day I noticed that without the distractions it was easier for me to have a rest and lie down whenever I felt tired.
Nothing was too much trouble or too hard to do. We really noticed how much time we had previously wasted focussing on things that didn’t have a heartbeat; our lack of connection to family and society became more apparent. Now if I feel to connect with someone I call them and say ‘hi’.
Since finishing our technology detox, old habits of getting lost in some form of technology still creep in, but with this detox experience allowing us to feel the effect on our bodies of the overuse of technology, we can definitely see and feel the difference and arrest it a lot sooner.
Technology OVERLOAD – Bringing Back Connection
Technology overload and saturation is so prevalent in society, especially with children and teenagers. Our sons say that video console games are all the boys talk about at school and if you don’t have the latest inappropriate violent game, you’re left out of the loop. Girls are excluded if they’re not on social media taking photos of themselves. This is in grades 4 and 6!!
What are we saying to others when we are always looking at our phones or computer screens? It can’t be that we are so important that we don’t have time to talk to others. As a result of our technology detox, our family was able to share how it feels when each of us ignores ourselves and each other when we are checked out with technology. I looked around and observed technology overload almost everywhere – friends, family, work colleagues and people out at shopping centres – nobody truly being with each other as they are looking at their phones instead.
Since this experience I have no desire or need to connect to others from behind a screen – or to check my emails continually. All I can say is:
The feeling of freedom to feel and think of what is needed next is so clear since my technology detox.
Technology is all around us and we use it every day, but perhaps we need to consider whether we are using it to support our lives or whether we are trying to get technology to give to us what we will not give to ourselves…
I feel it’s worth taking the time to consider and appreciate that we can still stay connected with ourselves and with each other whilst living in a world of technology.
By Aimee Edmonds, Vancouver
Does Technology Simplify our Lives?
What’s right with this world?
Thanks for sharing this experience with us Aimee – it has really highlighted how much we use technology to mask our feelings of disconnection and sadness.
Such a great topic Aimee. It is all so true what you write. I know I am so much happier in myself when I do not watch TV. It leaves me free to be me without imposition or other people’s dramas. And smart phones give everyone a reason to ignore each other and not connect. I see this everywhere in London where I live. A detox from technology sounds like an excellent idea! What a great experiment for your whole family.
Thank you for sharing this experience. I know exactly what you mean about using technology as a distraction, or to fill an emptiness, or to just escape what it is that we are feeling. I have had all of these feelings and I have even made moves to eliminate technology from its place of control that I have given it in my life. This is proving to be a little bit of a challenge, but one that I am more keen to meet head on since reading your blog.
Wow – this is such an important topic and I love the fresh approach you’ve given it. I think we’re probably all guilty of turning to technology for connection rather than ourselves and people around us at times. And it definitely feels like the addiction of technology has gotten out of hand, which is why for sure this blog needs to go viral!
Tha abundance of technology is everywhere. At lunchtimes it’s rare to see someone not scrolling on their phone or messaging someone. We are so wrapped up in connecting with people online that we forget about connecting with the people in front of us. Such a great blog Aimee
I agree Anna – its all to common and the connection we seek online will not fulfil our want to connect to people, all the while preventing us from doing that very thing – for while we are looking down our phones we aren’t looking up at life and the people in it.
Aimee it bought a smile to my face reading your post as I can relate so well to what you shared. It’s certainly an addiction in that I constantly would check my emails. What’s so important that I have to respond within 2min and what’s the real quality of my response. I notice I spend all day on emails yet I did an experiment whereby I avoided checking emails constantly and did this a couple of times a day – the result was it was much simpler I enjoyed time with family instead of being on my phone. Certainly time to bring this back and whilst technology is essential for work and communicating I am starting to look at it as it’s the way I am with it that counts. In the same way we can constantly snack and overeat we can certainly do that with technology.
I might try a little detox of my own with my phone. I know there have been times when I have left my phone accidentally at home and it has left me feeling uneasy for a while. I know I have become very attached to my phone, but remember clearly the time before there were mobile phones. It really is not necessary to be checking my emails every spare minute I have.
David, thanks for highlighting how this comes back to what we choose to ‘consume’. We know food goes into our body and has an affect on us, but do we also recognise that what we ‘consume’ through technology is also going into our body?
Great blog Aimee, it is amazing in this day and age how so many people are sucked up and into technology, a world full of lawnmower men, if you are old enough to remember that movie. Years ago when I bought my first computer I got a game called Duke Nuke em, you ran around shooting and blowing up aliens, all blood and guts, well I got sucked into this game badly and played it from 10pm till 10am straight. I realised what had happened and have never played a game since. Others aren’t so lucky and are still playing that very game.
This is a good point Kevin. I work in a school and I hear many children say they spent their weekend playing on their computer games. I know many students come into school tired from being up late at night playing them. Parents may feel at least the children are safe and at home, but the cost as Aimee’s post has outlined is great and we miss out on human interaction.
I loved reading this article Aimee, I can really relate to it. I notice this too and also find myself on my phone if I have a spare minute, rather than enjoying time just being or connecting with someone in a shop or when I’m out and about, ‘I looked around and observed technology overload almost everywhere – friends, family, work colleagues and people out at shopping centres – nobody truly being with each other as they are looking at their phones instead.’
I love your blog – a technology detox is something I have often wanted to try and to do – because technology and checking out with it can become an addiction. I recently have had my use of technology cut right back and it was great – every time I would usually reach for my phone I would instead have to make conversation, deal with an awkward moment or just take 5 to be with me. Now I really have to watch myself, as the pull to go back into old habits it strong – like you say its like we want the phone to give us something we aren’t giving ourselves.
Great call Rebecca, we are dealing with an addiction just like with sugar or cigarettes, it tries to get us all the time.
I really feel to give a go and to limit the times I spend on my computer for Facebook and emails.
What an inspirational post Aimee and I am sure many many families would find this kind of detox challenging! When I look around and see so many very young children using a device I wonder what the impact is on them and their relationships as they grow up knowing no other way and connection with people fades away. Saying that though there are some amazing benefits in technology and I am learning to use it as support in the world we live in.
I wonder what the long term consequences are of living in this fog, especially in regards to physical and mental health.
On the other hand it is perfectly possible not to be in a fog even with technology. Will many people manage this, though? Especially as many things like computer games are designed to put you into this fog.
Yes great point Christoph, if we are present with what we are doing using many forms of technology, there is no need to be in a fog… but as you say, computer games and other gaming devices are designed to draw you in and create that foggy feeling so you are enticed to play more and more.
Thank you Aimee for this wonderfully inspiring blog, to which I can very well relate.
The first thing is to stop and truly feel what is going on in our lives and to realize how easy it is to disconnect from ourselves and override what we feel would truly support us, when we want to submerse ourselves in modern technology. Modern technology is a blessing if used with awareness. It simply is for us to learn how to make loving and supportive choices for ourselves and from there let technology support us.
I agree Michael – modern technology CAN be a blessing and a very supportive way of communicating, but instead of using it for this, society have used it to check out and distract AWAY from true connection. Totally the opposite!
Yes this is happening everywhere, using technology, food, drugs, alcohol, sugar, caffeine etc not to feel and check out with. Really anything can be used to escape from the tension we are feeling in our bodies. Imagine how different it would be, if these questions were being asked in the newspapers, on social media or in the news – ‘What is that tension?’, ‘How does it feel when your ignored or you ignore yourself?’ or ‘Do you see anyone reflecting connection around you?’ instead of the usual comments especially around young people being rude and not making eye contact or communicating.
I am so grateful and appreciate that there is indeed many people reflecting connection to themselves and others through attending Universal Medicine.
Brilliant, Aimee. “Perhaps we need to consider whether we are using it to support our lives or whether we are trying to get technology to give to us what we will not give to ourselves…” – great point. The advancing technologies and material comfort are great, but it is questionable whether we humans are mature enough in our own evolution to utilize them in a way that is truly beneficial and supportive to all concerned. Even though I can see how I was just using different activities to fill my emptiness even before the Internet and mobile phone came into my life, the fogginess you talk of is something very strongly felt with computers, and now I have this very strong impulse to just get up and leave from my computer!
Good point, Fumiyo, are we mature enough and present with ourselves to use technology in order to support and enhance our connections, or do we use it as an easy option to distract and disconnect us from what we don’t want to feel?
So true Janet and so much to ponder on. Technology can definitely be a great way to support our connections in life and also a distraction if we don’t want to look at something that is there for us to move forward with and evolve.
The huge amount of online pornography that is available on a phone to children and adults of all ages is an indicator that we are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of such technology. The horrible stuff is there because there is a demand. Perhaps the technology is showing us our propensity for seeking stimulation and numbness. I know that my relationship with my smart phone is not based purely on communication, but a tool for distraction.
Wow Aimee, technology detox, nothing like to withdraw from something to see any unhealthy reliance, or the extent of how something controls and distracts us! So true what you say about our modern age with technology and how we all are these days, preoccupied with devices or gadgets, where everything is wanted instantly. My job of recruiting is exactly like this where many candidates (even some clients) use every which way to reach you, in the old days (ha ha) it was just the good old telephone (landline), or in person.
Technology is a part of our life. There is joy in being in connection, or connected with people, and in many cases instantly that we could even say shows a natural desire towards telepathic communication (!). However your final words here nail the truth behind technology’s popular distraction: “…..but perhaps we need to consider whether we are using it to support our lives or whether we are trying to get technology to give to us what we will not give to ourselves…”, in other words – CONNECTION.
interesting point Zofia, technology can be a great support but is no substitute for connecting with the love in our hearts or sharing the light of our souls. Might sound corny – but true.
Aimee what a great blog and so well timed. Technology serves its part in keeping us connected with work, projects and socially connecting with our friends and family, but when it overrides our ability to stop and connect to the basic principles of living and being, alarm bells start ringing. Your blog has highlighted a growing trend in many households around the world. IT connection is LIFE disconnection.
I love this Aimee. What a beautiful marker you now have in your family, to then feel the true place of technology in your lives.
Technology can put us under the pressure of a ‘double reality’ – our commitment to our real physical world; people, our home, our work and life in general; and then we have an online world – with emails, projects, games, movies, shopping – all manner of other things to attend to or distract us.
It can be difficult to keep the balance and remain fully connected in both. However, your detox is a great support to see how technology can be truly used to support our connection with ourselves and others; or to diminish it.
I agree, Kylie, getting the balance right is key. Technology can be used in a really supportive way so, as others are saying, it is how we use it that matters. Being really honest with ourselves in the moment is therefore super important, as it is so easy to get hooked into the virtual world if we are not present with ourselves.
Well said Janet – I feel this too – to be discerning in the use of technology and to be fully present when using it, be if for work or otherwise.
Aimee I love your blog and could not agree more with what you presented. I see the overuse of technology all around me, at work, at home, in public places. As you say it might be “to give to us what we will not give to ourselves…” Being of a certain age however I have the opposite problem. Technology makes me feel uncomfortable because it takes me so long to understand how to perform even simple tasks. My phone can be on silent for days before I realise since I have little use for it. People try to contact me and I am unaware of it. Whichever way we use technology there is something to learn about ourselves.
I love what you have shared here Patricia, bringing another aspect about technology for many… being open to it or ignoring how technology can support. Thank you
Aimee I feel super inspired by what you have shared as I can so relate to being hooked on devices. I am going to propose a technology detox for my family as I feel the benefit of just being aware of how much it creates disconnection between people.
Enjoy feeling the difference, Sharon.
This is great Aimee! Very inspirational. I certainly know now that living in a house without a TV is very supportive for me. So often it could be used as a distraction and focal point so as not to engage with other people in the house. I still have more to learn with my relationship with technology, so my phone is the next one I am going to look at. Thank you as you have inspired me to really look at this and see how I could be doing things differently.
Awesome Amelia…I love how this has really opened up discussions and an opportunity to consider how we are using technology. I can relate to using my phone as a means to not be truly open and intimate with others around me… I’ve intentionally picked up my phone while out just to avoid situations. But now, when I know there is something I feel unsure or wobbly about, I make sure I leave my phone at home!
Love it Aimee, I forgot my phone the other day and actually enjoyed being with myself for the whole day and not having a need to check to see if anyone wanted me for anything. When I arrived home my daughter was most concerned about me and worried as she did not know where I was. I thought this was funny as it is often the other way around!
It is great that you have given your family a chance to feel the difference from being dependent on electronic devices to not. The world is electronic, there is no getting away from that, but knowing that connecting with people and understanding that even when not directly communicating you still can feel the other person and its important to be open and honest. Also to learn how to use these devices in conjunction with your daily responsibilities is a good thing that you have shown your family, so they understand a balance.
You made a great point that we can’t know how we will feel and be, until we try life without the misuse of technology. I can really relate to the seeing of the foggy eyes and the absent mindedness. I have found that it’s irrelevant to get into the “how long have you been on the computer” discussions, as the eyes are proof enough for me that something is not right. Using technology to fill up any emptiness goes against all our human nature – to really connect with one another. What you have described in your blog sounded like a bad relationship – well done for ending it and starting afresh with far greater insight.
Awesome Fiona, yes the foggy, red and sunken eyes says it all! It’s so important for us to be honest with all our ‘ill’ relationships with anything really! Wether it be food, technology, reading, exercise, movies, cleaning etc etc. It’s creating a stop moment to truly appreciate the impact of doing something in a particular way versus doing something with more of an awareness of why, how it feels and if it is truly needed.
Thank you Aimee for the courage in showing that we all can survive without the constant need for gadgetry connection. We have all lost the ability to discern what is truly supporting us to what is dictating our every moment. Technology can be a wonderful servant but a very controlling master if we succumb to its dark side of distraction and disconnection with real life.
Aimee a brilliant look at technology disconnecting us instead of connecting us . It is a sad truth these days to see so many people walking around in a fog of technology. This blog just shows that it is possible to live a life connected to ourselves in a technology savvy world. Thank you.
A great way to word it Kelly – ‘so many people walking around in a fog of technology’. It is exactly that; a fog that stops us being aware of what’s happening around us (when used as a distraction).
I agree Kelly, this is a brilliant blog looking at how technology disconnects us and very exposing reading the comments here too. I can clearly see now that I sometimes pay more attention to a text or an email than my children, which greatly saddens me. My 3 year old this week asked me somewhat annoyed to put my iphone away and although it’s necessary to attend to certain things, when that happens is key and not always necessary at that moment. As a role model to him, I don’t want him growing up thinking my phone is more important than him, as an earlier comment commented, that’s why children start using ipads/computers as their go to, to fill them up because they’re not getting the love and intimacy when they’re with adults. When we moved country and my youngest was born, we got rid of our TV and we agreed our phones were put aside at meal times as I noticed they were getting answered mid meal. I also severely compartmentalised the use of my phone, computers etc but I can see now how they’ve crept back in so it’s time for a review. Thank you for the inspiration and the awareness to check in with myself as to why I want to check my phone. Is it because I’m feeling something I don’t want to feel and therefore looking for a distraction? This is a great experiment and one to share as it has exposed areas to me where I can put my phone down and connect even more with those around me.
This is an awesome sharing Aimee and an inspiration to many other families. I see first hand many kids who are staying up all hours playing video games or watching youtube- they are totally exhausted and in this, more emotional and less able to cope with life. They describe it that it’s like an addiction and they can’t cope if they can’t get access to it.
I also hear other kids talk about observing parents and family members who are addicted to technology, in this the kids say they feel invisible as everyone is more interested in looking at the screen, and they feel like no-one is really there for them so they decide to join in on this too. I love the awareness you brought to the impact this is having on your family and your willingness to take a stand and offer something different.
This is so sad Kristy that the children you are around feel this way but then we need to ask why are the parents checking out? Sounds like everybody’s unhappy. Kids want connection, I know I did, but now find myself as a parent checking out on my phone at times. Thanks for sharing this its so important to hear.
This is very sad to hear Kristy.
It is great to hear the ‘real’ impact on children, their lives and relationships from someone who sees it every day. Thanks for sharing this Kristy.
This says so much Kristy. There were things I remember joining in with too, with my family growing up – just to have time together, even though I knew that that time was not about relating with true quality and ease, for there were other addictive behaviours going on (such as drinking alcohol).
We do crave connection, and it is a sad state of affairs when we accept less than the real deal, effectively giving up and enjoining ‘what everyone else is doing’. And it is so very understandable, if that is the only model you see about you. Aimee and the families sharing here about how they have brought responsible awareness to their use of technology, are so needed in our societies – just to offer that point of difference, that just perhaps ‘not everyone’ is doing what my family and so many others may be. It can be another way, and what if, that ‘way’ truly offers the connections we have so craved.
That is really interesting Kristy. What you have shared should be shared more publicly. Yes, our kids use technology and have many pressure from peers to be a part of that world. But as the adults we are role modelling. When my son was very little I would often use my phone while we shared meals. I realised how horrible this must feel for a 2 year old but also that I was saying that was ok to do that. I didn’t want him growing up using a phone at meal times. If we are checking out as much as the kids are, we say thats ok. I need to look at this in my own life as I often use the computer in this way. I tell myself it’s different as I’m working, but it’s the way I do it and it’s the connection I’m denying and why I’m choosing to deny that connection that needs to be looked at. I still have to do the work I need to do, but it’s how I do that I need to look at.
Thank you Kristy … unfortunately what you have shared is the norm for many many families. A young girl shared with me recently that the only time she actually gets to spend time with her Dad is when she plays Xbox with him. This is not to judge the Dad, but highlights that this is a huge subject that affects so many adults and children and the lack of connection to themselves and each other.
Bringing awareness to this, I feel will help support more and more to stop and consider why and what they are trying to avoid by using technology in this way.
Kristy I always love your observations especially as you are seeing what one generation is teaching the next. Children are learning this from the adults they are seeing around them – family, friends, neighbors, strangers, on the tv, online etc. Technology is far more dangerous than it appears. The drug like affect starts to impact on every part of life if we are not careful and aware of our relationship with it.
Yes I know that children are up all night on technology and parents are just allowing it which is creating great difficulty in classrooms and within relationships. Not to even mention the content of their screen time. These addictions are world wide and seemly socially acceptable. Where to from here I wonder?
Good question Kathryn, I feel the advancement and increased dependency on technology has an adverse effect on peoples ability to interact witheach other which in turn has a detrimental effect on health.
Bravo Aimee! I know the resistance that can come in when we take away screens and devices. Recently I cut out televisions and screens with my daughter during the week and limited use on the weekends. This came about as I too noticed that she would lose herself in these things and ‘forget’ to take care of her day to day tasks. Room would not be cleaned, homework undone and many others areas forgotten. She protested very loudly at first but has now been able to see and feel how much she takes responsibility for herself and her life and how much fun it is as she spends more time with the whole family. Now it is our normal and she can see that the world didn’t end and that in fact she is enjoying herself and engaging with others far more than she ever used to.
Great Penny, we did this with our daughter too. It’s good to hear that there are others doing something similar.
Thanks Penny… I love how your daughter, by not having the distraction of screens, was able to see the many many ‘normal’ joys of life. Whenever my sons disconnect from technology they realise how much they enjoy getting outside in nature, gardening, cooking or being creative.
All these are such beautiful and valuable sharings …
This is awesome Penny. I have found a similar experience with my children – initially there is a resistance and then an almost sigh of relief for them when they get to feel how lovely it is to have the space to connect and play without the distraction of screens.
Penny, Bianca Aimee, I can see how introducing technology free days or periods for children helps them re-connect with themselves and family, enjoy the experience of doing other things, play games or be in nature. This is a very loving thing to do and I’m sure your children, despite initial resistance, when they feel the difference for themselves will appreciate the wisdom of your ways.
For me, what came up was worried about “fitting in” with the other kids and “being cool”…not wanting our son to “miss out”..but what he was really missing out on was the level of love, care and responsibility that comes with saying no to the ipad and TV…finding enjoyment in outdoor activities and connecting with others…taking responsibility for this as a parent was actually a great feeling too.
I bet you are going to inspire everyone to go on a technology detox Aimee!! We’ve all been saying it for years, but as I sit on the train to work each morning, I look around and everyone is staring down at their phone, reading the paper on their ipad, or doing work on their laptop. It’s insane how much the use of technology just does not let up. Sometimes I find myself watching a show on my ipad while working on my laptop and then checking my phone intermittently. WHAT? why so much stuff. I accidently left my phone at home the other day, and whilst I kept reaching for it out of habit, it was such a nice feeling not being pulled to check instagram or whatever else. It does feel completely freeing not being a slave to your phone. I’m going to consider how I can cut back on my techno distractions.
I totally relate Elodie, I can sometimes find myself watching a movie, checking my emails on my computer and Facebook on my phone. It’s almost like we have become immune to distraction, and need multiple distraction to gain the same effect.
This ability to multi-task is often prided upon. But you are right Rebecca, it is just a way to mask the level of distraction that is going on.
And it is amazing to see to what level this distraction can be driven, isn’t it?
Dearest Aimee, this blog is absolute GOLD! I can relate to much of what you have expressed, especially relying on technology as a distraction and a way to feel connected instead of stopping and seeing this need as a sign that I have been living in a way that has disconnected me. These moments are an opportunity for me to stop and re-connect – how beautiful that we are given these feelings throughout our day. Thank you for the inspiration of your lived experience ~ I feel my own technology detox coming on.
Awesome, sounds good. Everyone could do with a technology detox : ) loved how your boys connected more with each other and found different games to play as well as how you felt more connected as a family.
Aimee what you have shared is Gold. As a society we have gone over the top with technology. Most us have several gadgets each that we can use to distract ourselves from what we do not want to face, truncated comments have replaced our deeper communications, and we do not spend much time feeling what our bodies say let alone honouring what we feel such as resting when we feel tired. It is inspiring how your family used the detox to break the hold technology had on them. Thank you for sharing the understanding you have gained through your experience.
Thanks Aimee, I need a technology detox for sure! I recently banned my daughter from all screens for a week and the result was beautiful. Well, not the initial reaction, that was rather full on, but once she got over the reaction she enjoyed playing games and hanging out and was really creative and so much nicer to be around. We had full conversations rather than half answers over the top of a screen. We all noticed the difference, but like you say, its hard when everyone else at school expects you to know all the latest this and that online. I guess with anything, we need to find a balance and not to use the screens as a way of not feeling and not interacting otherwise we are all missing out on each other.
Rosie, I agree. My ten year old son has been banned from using his iPad during the week with spectacular results, he is simply more himself, more engaged with life and people around him. But he loves using his iPad so we allow it on the weekends where we witness a gradual decline, the sparkle goes. Finding a happy and supportive balance can be difficult.
So true Rosie, yes we are in a world these days where technology is part of our everyday life and we can’t avoid that. But it is important for us to see when we use it to hide behind. It can be so easy to disengage from real live people and hide behind a screen, where we can connect with people on a certain level but not fully connect with them wholly. Social media is a great example of this, we can easily be friends with lots of people, but we don’t have to let them in! I did on line dating a few ago and found it amazing how incredibly different someone could be on an email conversation compared to how they were when I met them in person. We can use technology but not to over use it.
That is so it Donna – on social media we can connect with people but we don’t have to let them in!
Thank you for your sharing Rosie, I find it fascinating and empowering (having a young child) to hear all those stories of parents experimenting with technology detox with their children in order to bring back quality and more balance into their lives/relationships. As we ourselves as parents develop a healthy relationship with technology, it makes it easier to support our children to develop such a healthy relationship too. And the more of us live that, the easier it will too become. Feels like we ‘re back to self-responsibility and opening more this conversation !
This is lovely Aimee.
Parents often ask their children to turn off the mobile phone or iPad and minimise screen-time, however as adults we too are hooked by technology and using it as a means of distraction. Your article highlights the true connection we are missing out on when we use technology to check out.
I am inspired now to observe myself more and turn off the computer or put down my phone if I am using it to disconnect. I have often felt lost without my phone, but I am really lost when I need to look at it all the time to fill an emptiness that I haven’t filled with connection to my innermost.
I know when my children are seeking to use the iPad because they are bored or given up that this is simply a form of escape, a way to check out so they do not have to look at their choices. Its awesome that they begin to see this pattern now and know that ONLY THEY can turn this around.
That is beautiful Lucinda and a credit to you as a parent that you are able to support them in seeing this and making a different choice, one of self empowerment.
Wow – what an amazing way to parent, by encouraging the taking responsibility for our choices and how we feel from day 1.
I went to a comedy night the other night and one of the comedians was talking of exactly this, how he doesn’t know how people can parent without an iPad (or calpol!) because the ipad just ‘shuts them up’ and the calpol makes them drowsy. While how he was saying it was funny, reflecting on it with this blog and what you have written and through experience with my nephews I know the importance of actually taking the time out to connect with children and young people. It’s massively important but we are loosing this because everyone is on devices.
Yes Vicky – we are losing out on a generation of young people who have not really had much experience of life without this technology and turn to it every free moment. The good news is that in our school there is a complete ban on all phones and mobile devices during the school day – except when they have to complete work on the computer – this has turned the behaviour of the kids around in the school as they are more present with themselves – however as they are more of aware of the tension they are in this of course has had other consequences, but that is another story…
Yes great to catch it early. I have found that my children more often than not naturally feel when they have had enough TV or play on the iPad. However if that is overridden this affects their behaviour and mood. We are always quick to discuss the correlation between this and the consequences so that they have increased awareness over how their choices are affecting them
It is definitely worth someone studying the impact of devices on children and social skills like connecting to each other, I have recently been teaching in primary schools and when asking children to talk to each other in pairs their skills are very poor, often not turning to look at the other person, no eye contact, general disinterest in what the other person has to say. I can’t help but correlate this behaviour to the lack of good role models as many of the adults in children’s lifes are hooked up to iPhones, iPads, computers and tvs. I am sure it is having an impact.
I am with you on this 100% Vanessa about a study or survey of school aged children with using technology, how they – feel about, are affected, pressured to use it, see Adults around them using it etc etc. I feel the results would be so alarming and shocking that the gaming industry making billions off children, would not want this to be exposed. It reminds me of the tobacco industry when it first was revealed that smoking was harmful for the smoker and everyone who breathes secondhand smoke as well. Mmm I’m going to look into this more.
the problem goes deeper than that…in that adults often don’t communicate in a way that is supportive or loving, even before turning to devices for distraction. There have already been plenty of studies done on the effects of TV and gaming on children, in fact children (and adults), are used as subjects for marketing companies who are researching how to push a product….they get a bunch of kids in a room and video them watching different versions of adds or shows they have created, then they analysis the eye movements of the children to see which add or show produces the most response, ie excitement or attention…the more the eye movements track the screen, the more products the company will sell. You could say it’s all a set up.
This makes complete sense Vanessa and is of course a very valid reason why children can struggle to communicate, share and listen. Adults who role model constant fixation on devices can’t be good. We all knew growing up that too much TV was bad for us, but now we get “the screen” for many more hours a day. Studies to need to be made, but I expect the industry and many, many customers wouldn’t want to change as the way it is set up brings comfort, relief and distraction to the intensity of life.
It chills me to hear this, the impact of technology is slowly taking its hold, how far will we let it roll under the banner of advancement. Everywhere kids are surrounded by siblings, friends, family workmates, all hooked into their devices. As with anything in excess, take it away (as Aimee and her family have done,) and the space that is left will speak loud and clear about what we are really avoiding.
This feels really true Lucinda, ‘It’s awesome that they begin to see this pattern now and know that ONLY THEY can turn this around.’ I can feel with my son that it is important for him to feel how he is with Ipads and screens and feel when it is time to turn it off, it feels great when he does this, when he says ‘that’s enough’ and wants to play with his toys, rather than me trying to pull the Ipad off him and him left wanting more.
Thank you Lucinda for sharing that. By being connected to ourselves with our children and others, it is their choice to see and let go of the pattern of wanting to stay in comfort, escape or not.
Agree Annie. This blog has also opened my eyes even more. I already knew we had a technology plague, however I didn’t take in to the full extent. Today at work I observed. Team members using their phones as the first port of call. Its a barrier or a shield that we can use to deflect any moments of feeling uncomfortable. In our day and age it seems weird to just sit in the lunch room without a mobile phone.
Yes spot on Luke, phones are often used by many, including myself, as a way to not feel uncomfortable or awkward or not to be rejected at any cost. It feels awful when sitting with someone talking and they pick up their phone and start looking at it.
Absolutely Luke, we use our phones as a protection from any awkward situations, or whenever we don’t feel comfortable – it’s such an easy way out – pick up your phone and look at it. It reminds me of how kids have a safety blanket or blankey!!
Wow Aimee – what a great blog and giving us all much to consider and to be inspired by! One of the stand-out lines for me was “Technology is all around us and we use it every day, but perhaps we need to consider whether we are using it to support our lives or whether we are trying to get technology to give to us what we will not give to ourselves…” How very true! Looking at it in this way requires a deep level of honesty, and I know for me, while I can sometimes think I can fool other people and justify my reasons for being caught up in technology (which often contains some truth, but not always the full truth), I can never truly fool myself. When I am using technology in a way that supports me and where I am not wanting to ‘escape’ or avoid connection with myself, my body feels totally different than when I am using it ‘to’ avoid something I don’t want to feel… the key for me is in being aware of this, and when I recognise this, firstly, just to be honest and then to be prepared to feel a little deeper about what else may be going on that had me wanting to not be with myself in the first place!
Wow Aimee, reading this I realised how attached to my phone I am! I wouldn’t know where to start with going on a technology detox. I can see what you mean about using technology as a distraction and a deterrent from your feelings. So many times I have sat myself in front of a movie rather then feel that I miss someone or that I’m sad. Great blog Aimee, thank you for writing it.
Thanks Emily. I’ve noticed with myself and others, how much phones are used to be a buffer, almost like a protector, that keeps people at bay – got to make a phone call, check the weather, book this or that… especially when there is an opportunity to be intimate with another. Nothing is more precious than when with another person, not allowing any distractions and honouring the time together.
I know – I am so attached to my phone too, and if my battery dies I actually wonder how people used to live without mobile phones – they have almost everything you need… GPS, maps, numbers, emails, camera, notebook, music, calendar…. But somehow people used to survive!
I know what you mean Meg! I actually have an awesome portable battery device, the size of a lipstick, that I can charge my phone in my handbag. There is the over using of our phones when it is just not needed but I felt there was also a responsibility in being reachable especially for children or work etc.
Haha yes great question – how did people survive without a mobile phone? We did survive as there was nothing to compare it to. Thinking about it now, in a way I remember just knowing when to use a public phone to call home and check in and there was a lot more time just to be with yourself and less of an urgency. And we also used paper maps… thank goodness there is now GPS, I could never read them!
I’ve thought this too Meg! How simple. I have a work phone – which is a snazzy piece of technology. The reason behind this though is so we are always ‘on call’
Since all having mobiles – every single one of my team members will email early in the mornings and late at night – that’s a whole load of extra hours that the company is getting out of us.
It seems so important to separate the time we spend on devices and the time we have with ourselves.
Hi Aimee, I really appreciate your sharing of this experience. I could feel the slight squirm for myself when you spoke about the idea of detoxing technology. I haven’t watched or owned a TV for a very long time, but I can easily use social media in a very similar energy, to that of checking out in my day or seeking connection. Amazing to see when our number one connection is within ourselves. I love the link you have shared to True Intimacy too. Thank you.
Me too Cherise. I don’t tend to watch TV, and for a little while I thought I had freed myself from technological distractions… Boy was I wrong! Social media can become addictive, and I can very easily spend hours scrolling through the different sites looking at videos, reading statuses and messaging people.
I have been aware that if I haven’t scrolled through all the new posts on social media sites that I feel I’m not “up to date” with my day. It’s as if I’ve left emails unchecked. There is nothing wrong with that, but there is in the way i approach it. Why am I doing this and why do I feel this need? Does it really serve me?
Great point Susie, social media can be a real trap. Sometimes I can see myself clicking on a link to watch something and I am not even really interested in seeing it. It is an automated response. One, thankfully I am being more aware of and thus choosing to exit social media instead of losing myself further into it.
I know what you mean Sally, clicking on a link to watch something and then saying to myself ‘what am I doing?!’ I’m not even interested in it and there is no purpose at all for looking at it… same with checking comments on statuses that I don’t need to know about – at this stage I know I have well and truly checked out and I immediately turn it off.
I can fully attest to that too Sally – I have experienced the same and am much more onto it these days, much quicker in recognising the distraction and the hook, and taking appropriate action.
I know what that feels like being sucked into a social media and computer vortex. It’s easy to become distracted. I have stopped watching TV, but I can still feel a pull to want to watch it especially to distract myself when I feel off. The difference not watching it though is great. I can feel how much clearer I am without it.
Absolutely Jane – the focus required when using technology should come with warning signs …’do not operate when checked out, needy, tired, etc…….’ or ‘warning, potentially hazardous device’.
The same can also apply with emails interrupting the flow of other work or going to the email Inbox ‘to check’ when it was honestly to look for distraction and stimulation. More often these days I close my emails while doing other tasks.
Yes it can be quite easy to go – I don’t watch TV anymore or Iview etc… I’m ok with technology- but there are still very sneaky ways that technology can take hold of you. I agree that it is so important to always look at/question our relationship with something because it can allow you the space to know what is true and what is not. But when we get caught up in it, it is not always easy. Detoxes are great for that – thanks for sharing yours Aimee.
Thank you Cherise. There is so much being exposed here, which is great! I can see that checking my computer when its not needed or taking one last look at social media before doing something, is really no different to me eating a chocolate bar or something else sweet… it gives the same result, a moment of satisfaction, followed by the same feeling of disconnection. Yet “…when our number one connection is within ourselves” there is nothing that can pull us out.
Absolutely – social media is 100% addictive, it’s easy to waste many hours doing nothing and seeking that connection with others, rather than first seeking it with ourselves.
Thank you Aimee, I love how you describe the difference it made to how you and your family members were interacting with each other when technology was taken out of the picture for a while. For me I feel it is a blog worth re-visiting every so often, just to check in with where I’m at with connecting to myself and others truly, rather than keeping constantly distracted with all these modern toys. I don’t feel that computers and phones are bad -I love my phone and my computer – it’s just how I choose to be with them. Do I choose to check out, or stay connected with myself and what I feel? Can I focus on other things and be truly present with what I’m doing? Truly worth pondering on from time to time.
Great point Esther. It really is about how we choose to be with our devices and why as they can be very supportive just as much as they can be harmful.
Penny. Agree whole heartedly that devices can be very supportive, but also harmful in so many ways.
Agree with you both (Esther and Penny).
It is only about how we use it.
I can go around watching youtube videos hours on end or do something productive.
Its about the quality we use technology.
Yes, I agree Luke. I am finding I am less and less addicted and drawn to scroll the feeds, usually catching myself and thinking ‘seriously, what is this bringing me or anyone’, haha, and then i can easily disengage with this enveloping ‘cyber world’ feel, and instead be more present and productive, and cut this distraction.
I agree Arianne! and I find it makes me very weary when I do that!
You are right Esther, I do agree that we need to work on presence in using these technologies and work on connection. I for one can see how important this is for how I am in life.
Beautifully said Monica. Aimees technology detox is a call to all of us to reflect on our relationship with phones, laptops, tablets. We could ask ‘Who is in the control, ourselves or an energy that drives us further into activity and away ourselves.’ You put it well: “do we use our phones and laptops to serve us, or do we serve them.”
Seeing our use of technology as a relationship puts its use into much more perspective. We can begin to ask ourselves the questions…Is our relationship with technology healthy? Is there a need being filled? Do we change ourselves? Do we take on what is not ours? . . . and the list goes on.
Yes agreed Esther, its not that computers and phones are bad or food or other entertainment for that matter….its more bringing a real honesty to ourselves in relation to these things and why and how we use them. I love your practical questions – definitely worth pondering on.
Hi Esther I like what you share here and I agree that it is the way how I use all this technical toys. It is very easy to check out so here is the clue to be with myself or present as much as I can even if I am on my computer . . .
That is it Esther. We can take technology away from our lives, but that is a solution to a potential problem. If we need technology to escape to, we cannot blame the technology for escaping. It is us. I also do love my Iphone, my Mac. These are beautiful devices. It is my choice to use them to connecting to people, getting messages in to the world.
Thank you Aimee for taking the time to share about your family’s digital detox. I got the extent of the distraction when you mentioned ‘focussing on things that didn’t have a heartbeat’ and I can feel how this extends out into our communities, like schools, neighbourhoods and workplaces. Even going for a walk in the mornings, people don’t respond to a ‘hello’ because they can’t hear with their earphones plugged in! There are many things that can distract us from feeling what is going on for us and developing relationships with each other, however technology is a massive one and the generational impacts of it are yet to be fully known.
I can relate to what you wrote Bernadette about going for a walk and people being on their phones or listening to music. Like we lost the true sense of being with ourselves and others without extra input like music, television or the computer. For me a new trend is young people not phoning with each other but instead playing all kind of ‘games’ with each other on their phone with assignments about what to do.
This has not been my experience during my morning walks but one of initially saying “hello” or “good morning” or simply a smile, to today having a friendship with the many beautiful people I have connected with on these walks. Of course these people weren’t absorbed on any device but simply appreciating what was around them, nature, other people or simply themselves. There is a time for technology and a time to put it aside. When I recently started taking my phone to capture the brilliance of nature I experienced with each walk, I found it disturbed the natural flow and communication I felt naturally with nature and each person. I didn’t feel I could connect in the same way. There was something quite interfering about having the phone with me. And the photos could never quite capture the connection I felt in the live relationship with each moment.
Wow what an amazing experiment Aimee! It’s so true, we do spend too much time focussed on something without a heart beat. I just have to think about the days when I have lost internet connection to realise that there is at times a very un-healthy dependancy on technology, as I keep re-visiting my computer every half hour to see if its working, feeling at a bit of a loss as to what to do next! While technology is important in our lives, maintaining healthy relationships is vital to our true wellbeing, nothing can replace loving human contact. A very brave and inspired decision to detox the family and one I am sure you will continue to appreciate for a long time to come.
Super important Rowena and very true: ‘ While technology is important in our lives, maintaining healthy relationships is vital to our true wellbeing, nothing can replace loving human contact’.
I agree with you Jacqueline and Rowena – so well expressed and to the point as you say “Nothing can really replace loving human contact”.
Love what you have shared here Rowena and I know and have felt that loss as to what to do next. I’m sure if everyone filled out a survey on how and why we use technology it would be very revealing to why relationships, illness and disease is like it is today. Technology will keep advancing and new devices will keep coming out, but it is how we feel about ourselves first that influences why we use it.
I had a similar, smaller detox in the family years ago when the TV broke (it was before home computers became a must have) Hubby was working away, daughter revising for exams and I refused to get it fixed until she had sat for them. After the initial moaning and groaning our experience was similar to that of Aimee’s family. Six months later I got it fixed – no one noticed at first, and when they did we were all much more selective with what was watched.
Hello Aimee and a great subject to look at as I sit on my computer typing. It is true what you say, “Technology is all around us and we use it every day, but perhaps we need to consider whether we are using it to support our lives or whether we are trying to get technology to give to us what we will not give to ourselves…” Thanks Aimee.
I can only say the same Raymond – it is to be discerned how and when we use technology, and to have that awareness all of the time. Great blog and insights Aimee.
It is not the technology itself that is the problem, it’s how we choose to use it. If we use it to escape, as a form of distraction, to fill time, as a crutch, then we’re hiding from ourselves. If used discerningly and to support us, we can be fully present with ourselves as we use it.
Exactly Kehinde, as with anything there are positives and negatives, it all comes back to how we utilise what we have.
Great summing up Kehinde of how technology can be used to support true purpose.
Every year technology has become more and more part of my life. I love it and love all the work it supports. Yet at the same time I am seeing people destroying themselves with it, no different to the effects of alcohol and drugs but possibly more insidious because it is not a substance as such. Responsible technology use is super important for us all – young and old.
From the above comments I am inspired to take this angle on computer use when teaching ICT to children. We talk much about e-safety and staying safe on the web, but we haven’t yet talked about using our devices for distracting and numbing, as opposed to using this equipment to support us in daily life. Thanks for these super supportive comments!
I agree, Vicky. I resisted technology, computers, the internet, especially social media for a long time. I slowly make friends with it and find it very helpful and supportive as long as I am not getting lost in browsing and entertaining myself, using it to distract and numb myself. I keep hearing people saying that they have no time to meet, catch up, share in person but they sit a lot of time a day on the computer on social media or streaming some entertainment. It is effecting social connections and I am concerned that for many of the next generation connecting deeply with others might be unknown or very difficult.
I felt myself sit up and be more present just reading your comment – thank you! (said my spine 🙂
Yes Kehinde, it is about becoming aware of why we do things. Technology is not the bad guy, we just need to use it responsibly. I have decided to make some changes to how I use technology since reading this blog and the comments.
The use of technology can be an absolute support in my day or a drain and complete distraction. And this support or drain is available at the end of my fingertips everyday, and thus my choices are very important.
Beautiful Aimee. I recently had a similar experience, a laptop only detox, but it made me feel how my laptop and the work I did with it made me feel very anxious. Without it I took more time to connect with myself and do what I felt to do in the morning instead of going on my computer and let it ‘tell’ me what to do. I noticed I used my Iphone in a much more practical way, I did the things on it that were really needed which felt great. I now have a new laptop and I enjoy working with it – now knowing how to use it in a way with myself and not using it to give me something to do. Like you said: “Technology is all around us and we use it every day, but perhaps we need to consider whether we are using it to support our lives or whether we are trying to get technology to give to us what we will not give to ourselves…”
That is something that recently stood out for me also Lieke, when I didn’t have internet access for several days. It really exposed how I come to use my laptop – how I’m feeling before sitting down, what I’m already sensing will be there and will I be able to deal with what is there. Its really helped me with feeling what is the purpose of what I am using it for. Enjoy your new laptop.
It really is a great stop to re-access this actions that we do on a daily basis and go to auto pilot to do, something to look out for.
Great discussion. I don’t think many of us stop to check how we feel when we open up our laptop or go to use a device. I can feel in me that there can be an anxiousness that there will be too much to do and that I will have to speed up to get it all done. I like the idea of stopping to feel and ensure I am solid before I start working on my laptop.
Great point you make Lieke, we tend to let us be guided by the information we receive from our laptop or smartphone, like they are using us instead that these devices are just tools to support us in our work and everyday life. We have to become aware that we are so much more than our electronic devices and that these are just tools to serve us in our great work we have to do here on earth.
This is a great point made Nico, and something I have been appreciating is how simple laptops and the modern day electronics can be used to simplify life and help to produce great work. It really can be as simple as that.
Laptops and computers can be a drain and a distraction depending on how they are used, but imagine the power we hold in our fingertips if we use this form of technology wisely to spread truth and share what we know with the world. Together we can reach millions by the touch of a button, and that is awesome.
That is exactly it Nico and Amina. Technology is there to make our lives simpler. It is the way we deal with it that we have to become more aware of. I love technology: how would I be able to reach people all over the world otherwise? So indeed it also a way to connect more with people.
Nico this is a far healthier way of looking at our laptop and use of technology, using it as a way to serve a purpose and not as a distraction as I often allow. I know when I connect to the purpose of why I use it the time I need to be on it is much less than I normally spend.
Yes Nico and I can even be guided by what is happening when I am on my laptop! If not truly present, I can respond to an email as it arrives even whilst in the middle of doing something else on my computer. So for me I feel what is also happening with technology is that it magnifies the disconnection we already have with myself first then this naturally affects all relationships.
Interesting Bernadette and true, and don’t you find it great that the laptop ‘speaks’ about this (lack of presence) too, through the wifi going off, a skype call cutting out, ‘connection lost’ or ‘connection restored’ with a wireless mouse or keyboard… All great indications that confirm when we’re out, or ‘back on’ again, restored.
That the relationship and connection we have with technology is a mirror for the relationship and connection we have with ourselves. How awesome.
That’s a striking point that you make Nico. I feel that for many ‘technology’ has become the God they worship and the power in our day is given over to technology.
When I got a new phone recently the words ‘life Companion ‘ come up when I turn my phone on ! Life companion, no its a phone !
Great awareness Lieke and Nico, I will sit behind my computer differently today. I especially value what you say Nico “we tend to let us be guided by the information we receive from our laptop or smartphone.” I feel best when I have a natural flow in letting the things that need to be done come to me during the day, I wonder how often I loose this natural flow because of emails that are coming in and I then tell myself I have to take action on them. Sometimes that may be true but definitely not always and I need to take care not to be rushed into anything but to honour my own rhythm in everything.
I have also witnessed that technology is the first thing I will pick up when I either want something solved quickly or I am not willing to look at what is going on. This leads me to as you say Nico – be ‘guided’ by the information received rather than feeling into it and making my own choices based on those feelings. I end up using a lesser form of intelligence rather than the wisdom that is already there to feel. I agree 100% that it is our choice to become aware of this and see technology as a tool and not an answer.
Thank you Aimee and Lieke, I did a TV detox late last year which was brilliant in letting me breathe again … instead of trying to fit in preparing the meal, emailing, working on online projects and ‘relaxation’ with TV in the evenings, I dropped all the TV time and my whole evening opened up … felt like there was space to do everything and still go to bed before 9pm for a great sleep.
The amount of TV I now watch has considerably reduced and there is better discernment about choosing programs. I am also not disturbed if I miss a program, it matters not. The whole TV thing is back in its place, ie, being a tool or servant, rather than the master.
Great comment Marian, I can feel when TV is a void filler. It is as clear as day and night. The more I know myself he more the obvious it becomes! I therefore choose the program within me before I touch the TV – Void Filler or Stay with Me!
Well said Leike, technology is a fact of life today and it can be enormously useful, however it can be misused to fill a hole of something we feel we’re missing. I like what you say that it’s all about the way we use it, and I love what Nico says about these are just tools, rather than a lifeline!
I get what you are saying about technology being ‘misused to fill a hole of something we feel we are missing’. I feel many do this. What if we were willing to see the hole instead of always trying fill it up? Maybe then it could start to be truly healed!
For me it really comes down to two questions:
1. Is our life run by what is on the outside or lived from within?
2. And are we allowing an outside device, or in fact anything outside of us to dictate our life?
Spot on Judith and important we bring any life choice back to these two questions – truth or not truth.
These are very good questions to which I am sure many would reply yes to both. We are forgetting to truly connect with ourselves and becoming more and more lost in devices. The other day I was looking after my nephews and in the morning we were all sitting together but had our heads down in devices, not connecting with each other at all; we had to stop and have time out. I would love love love to have a digital detox for a month but instead I feel I just need to use my time on devices wisely instead.
I would say a YES to both of those questions Judith.. It’s interesting how man created technology and devices to SUPPORT them in their professions, growth, evolution etc., but what happened is that instead of us making use of them, they began to use and control us… Our choice to check out so much has resulted in a global technology addiction where we can’t function without it.
I know this one very well Lieke to feel that my computer tells me what to do. The last two days I started going for a beautiful walk during sunrise in the morning and then went to check my computer. It is so important that we listen and nourish our connection to our bodies.
good point Lieke. I have noticed I can feel anxious when I am working on my laptop. I tend to get drawn in, and end up spending more time on it than I had planned. As a result of reading your comment and the blog, I am going to rethink how I use it and maybe start to give myself time limits.
Wow Aimee this blog reveals a real danger for the whole of humanity. We use all this technology and connect to one another less and less. The way the world is currently with rising illness and disease not to mention dementia rates, makes me wonder with all the checking out potential of technology what the dementia rates will be in another 50 years? Great blog Aimee.
Great point Judy, its the ill way we use technology that affects us all, especially when it is used to checkout and not feel, just like food and other entertainment. And yes, what will be the side effects of that in years to come – maybe technology intolerance?
And often we use technology like TV, computer and eat at the same time or listen to music. So double and triple checking out…This has a huge effect on our body, on our well being and the quality we will live when we get older.
Yes Janinaelisa, and so will we have to feel the consequences later on. As Aimee has described from her detox of technology, she was relieving herself with television… I mean that is serious. This could become (or maybe is already) a silent drug, we are yet not even aware of taking. This we should stop, before we are not even having the clarity anymore to feel what is going on. Let’s call a stop and; say this instant technology use is NOT OK. We are getting anti-social in truth.
Danna I completely agree how technology and the way it is used is allowing, encouraging people to become anti-social. There is quite a concern that parents aren’t interacting with their children enough to give them the interaction required for language development and the social cues for communication as they spend so much time looking at tablets/ mobile phones.
I put my hand up for this one janinaelisa! I don’t watch tv but I have observed myself working on the computer and then having a conversation at the same time, all the while really only being half present. It doesn’t feel great for me and I know it definitely doesn’t feel good for the other person, and as well as not feeling great, it also doesn’t feel productive…
I agree Angela Perin, i also don’t watch TV anymore but at time let myself go and work on the internet and eat at the same time. Which is like watching TV and eating. Which doesn’t feel right at all and bring a lot of nervous energy into my body. Which than brings me into function mode.
Yes Angela I too can put my hand up for this. I have also caught myself in a conversation with someone while on the computer and it really doesn’t feel supportive for either party involved. True connection with others is felt when we are present within ourselves and then with the other person too.
After having conversations with someone on the phone who is also on the computer I can attest to feeling how not present that person is and will say to them that I feel they’re not fully present. It’s felt disrespectful so now I am much more aware of how present I am when talking with people and whether I’m getting distracted.
It’s great to clock those moments Angela when we’re half in/half out of whatever we’re doing so in reality not only are we not truly connecting to another but we’re not with ourselves either.
I can relate to those ‘half present’ conversations while a human being is standing to the side and my almost full attention is on a screen, doesn’t quite make sense does it?
Classic Aimee, but can so see this being an issue in years to come, more so than it is now.
Technology is already a huge addiction for many, many people. From adults on their phones all the time to children checked out in front of the TV or with video games. Technology has a seductive quality to it, promises that for a short time you can be swept up in the colours and images and not feel what your body is telling you about your own choices and relationships within life.
So True Kathryn. Anything that we feel addicted to usually has a certain seductive quality to it. A way of inviting us in again and again to escape from what we may be avoiding.
Ha! we can laugh about the concept of Technology intolerance, but it’s not that crazy an idea. Repeat an act that does not serve us, such as insisting on not connecting with ourselves and others enough times, and our bodies eventually need to scream a lttle louder to get our attention.
It’s a strange form of disconnection as often we are disconnecting to connect with people as often technology is used for social media. The quality of the connection that is offered through social media differs vastly from actually taking a walk with someone or having a face to face conversation. The connection social media offers is spreading beyond the bounds of social media. It’s like we’ve been tricked and hooked into social media in the guise that it is connection with people.
“It’s a strange form of disconnection as often we are disconnecting to connect with people”
I fully agree Nikki and therein lies the illusion – that we are closer than ever before, where in fact, research is demonstrating that we are lonelier and more miserable than ever before.
Yes all the evidence is around us in how we are interacting and how miserable everyone looks, and grey like life is being sucked out of them. We are in a massive illusion thinking we are connecting when we clearly are disconnected.
I agree vanessamchardy. People, especially in the city, really look miserable. Just stand at the side of a building and watch people walk past on the footpath, it is very sobering to see people’s faces, so tense and agitated looking.
‘We are in a massive illusion thinking we are connecting when we clearly are disconnected.’ Yes, well said Vanessa. It’s interesting how when people are feeling disconnected we turn to one of the very main things for it, computers and the internet.
What you say about the research findings doesn’t surprise me Michelle. So much social media operates on a superficial level leaving us missing our natural impulse to connect openly and honestly with others.
This is interesting Karin. Is it the social media OR is it the superficial way we use and approach it? Looking for an escape or connection as opposed to feeling connected, honest and sharing our expression?
I love what you have shared here Michelle “disconnection… we are disconnecting to connect with people’. A contradiction is itself but a strong reminder that we as a community are craving connection of some sort even though it may not be the true way.
For me social media is a way of connecting to people that I can’t connect to physically, it is not a replacement to connecting to people, it just adds another dimension and widens the scope of my connection. It doesn’t stop me connecting to people in person and as long I keep a balance of the two then I don’t use it as an avoidance to truly connecting to people on a personal level. It really depends on how you use it and as soon as I start to feel myself getting hooked in for too long I stop. In other words used wisely it can be a benefit but unfortunately many people get lost in it and it becomes a habitual form of checking out.
I agree Sandra, I used to have a vague rule that I used Facebook to connect with people who lived far away from me. While I don’t stick to this now, I never connect with close friends through social media but more see it as a way to connect more widely with people around the world and get a sense of what is going on. It can be a dangerous thing though as it is easy to get sucked in to wasting large parts of my day on social media, when instead the opportunity is always there to connect with the real world in person.
So true Stephen. The media often portrays technology as a way of connecting with people but often the opposite takes place. As a society we have become entrenched in the behaviours of checking what is on these sites but not truly checking into the honest and open connections we can make with people.
Sandra I love the point that you are so clearly making. It is not the technology per se in itself that is harming or not, but our own intent and how we use the technology that will determine if it is a harming relationship or a supportive one. And what a great way proposed by Aimee, a technology detox to separate ourself from any addiction and dependency, and honestly look at our relationship with and our use of technology.`
Yeah this is great Golnaz,
We always have the choice in how we use technology. The responsibility always lies with us and blaming something outside that for being wrong is never the answer. If anything the way that we are suing technology as a society is actually just reflecting to us how we have lost the connection with ourselves and others, and therefore can so easily be influenced by a external factor.
Yes Golnaz and Simon – it is not technology per se- but our relationship with it. Do we use it to support ourselves or to bring us something (ie connection/intimacy) that we are not prepared to bring ourselves. I know for me it is a combination of the both and when I do the latter – it feels awful in my body.
This is a great point Golnaz. It is way that it is use, and not to blame the technology but our choices with it.
Totally agree Golnaz. It’s not what we do, it’s how and why we do it. And it’s the same with everything, food, exercise etc.
I have the same feeling like you Sandra – it is so important to discern, when does it make sense to use social media as an additional support and when doesn’t it make sense, instead getting in touch with a person on a personal level, e.g. to meet another person or have a phone call.
I agree Nikki that our current major tools of connection are mostly being used in a way tgat creates disconnection. Observing teenagers I can see how they think they are connecting and expressing themselves on social media. Yet the language they use is stunted, highly abbreviated and doesn’t sound anything like how they talk in everyday life. This seems to be considered cool but is strongly capping their ability to express themselves fully. With Facebook open all the time and message alerts coming in at any time I can feel how this keeps us fractured and not fully present with what we are doing
Fiona you raise a great point here about how social media becomes a version of expressing that is often full of highly abbreviated and very short stunted messages. Expression has been reduced to a form of short hand via social media and this then transfers to real life conversations where so much is not actually being said. As I learn more about expression, I am realising how important it is to express everything and that even leaving out a word or two actually has an impact on myself and others.
‘ I am realising how important it is to express everything and that even leaving out a word or two actually has an impact on myself and others.’ The same for me Vicky. Most of my emails are longer these days with fully constructed sentences, rather than quick notes… and it feels so much more true.
I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to texting and social media, and it’s never felt right to me to abbreviate the language with things like ‘ru’ and ‘str8’. It feels lazy, and not giving the person I am texting my full attention. Some people think text language is cool, I think some of it has even made its way into the dictionary, but I am more than happy to be not cool.
This is so interesting. For me the classic miss out word in texting or writing or even speaking is I in ‘I Love YOu’ rather then just ‘LOVE You.’
The ‘I ‘ when it is dropped off the start then feels like the ‘LOVe you’ is not as full and committed unless of course you are suggesting to the other person to love themselves?
See what I mean? Ha. Expression is everything.
Yes Kathryn and Vicky, abbreviated messages carry none of the commitment and fullness of expression. Why would we want to water down ‘I love you”? We don’t have to shout it from the rooftops but we could say it with conviction so that the truth of those words is deeply felt.
What you say Nikki is spot on. One of the greatest joys in life is connecting with others and having a great conversation. We crave it so much that people spend much of their time on line these days but without that real sense of connection. As people have shared on here, even when we are speaking with someone, we can be thinking of other things or doing something else at the same time which really doesn’t foster the feelings of a loving and caring connection – with oneself or another! I have been guilty of this too and am I really feeling how horrible it feels to do anything with my mind elsewhere to what I am doing.
I agree Judy – it reminds me of the film ‘surrogates’ in which people lie in capsules and live their lives through robots, never really living, just getting sensory stimulation. Could that be where our future is headed? Possibly, but if we take heed of what Aimee is saying, then making time to truly connect with our selves and others is the key to making sure technology doesn’t take over – for it is true connection we crave.
Great point Judy. With more and more devices and technologies with the potential to encourage a rise in checking out and escapism what will the future hold in terms of our connections to each other and other effects like dementia?
Exactly Judy, with the technological possibilities to connect to others, we are steadily loosing a feeling for what connection really is and in fact are less connected than ever before. Great experiment Aimee.
WOW Judy what you ask here is a very relevant and interesting question. I am not sure if there are already people “checking out” if technology has an indirekt effect of e.g. dementia – if not – it would be very interesting to do so for I am sure that the dementia rate will rise in the next coming years . . . and then we all have to deal with that.
Its quite a thought to consider the effect of our use of technology on our future health, not only in terms of how our mind operates but also in our body, for every child that only plays on computer games there is the risk of early onset osteoporosis from the lack of bone loading in the formative years, this is another ticking time bomb among the many we seem to be setting ourselves up for.
This is true Stephen. We don’t know the harm that technology is doing to us in the long term because it is still relatively new and the excitement for it is very possibly clouding our discernment.
This is another way of looking at this conundrum that I had not even considered before. A very salient point Stephen.
I have never heard of bone loading before, as others have shared this is another thing to consider alongside the fact that many games played are now to do with killing people.
Great point Stephen, there really isn’t the long term research on the effects of technology on our health, aside from the very obvious ones like obesity due to so many adults and also children living more sedentary lives, there are the many other issues we just don’t know yet, what it does to peoples eyes, anxiety levels, depression and probably so many more. We just don’t know.
Yes, Judy, I sense that the dementia rates will be sky-rocketing. People are so checking out with their technology, it is quite alarming.
I agree Judy. This is true. The potential of checking out with social media or the Internet in general is huge.
Isn’t it ironical to consider that the very technology we often herald as the means for us ‘to’ connect is the very thing (when used in the way most of us do) that has us ‘dis’ connecting. And in truth, it’s not the technology per se that is responsible, but the way we use it and the reason behind us using it in the first instance.
Judy a friend was telling me recently about a documentary that she saw about people in their twenties going to their doctors as they were concerned that they had dementia. I feel that we may well discover that technology potentially plays a part in some people’s dementia as it is for many a way of not being present with themselves and dementia is exactly that, not being with your self.
Very true Judy what you say about the dementia rates probably going through the roof in 50 years (or sooner) if we keep up our technology addiction. This is very serious and worth paying attention to.
You have touched on something here Judy, as has Aimee in this great article. I see parents handing children tablets and phones to play games on while I am working on mum or dad’s teeth. The children are “quiet”, or are they? I would say they are zoned out completely. They are not engaged in anything except for moving those little pixelated things around a screen.
Another thing I have observed is that in the waiting room people used to sit around looking bored, having read all of the 10 years old magazines. Sometimes they would talk to each other. Now everyone is head down over a smart phone, emailing or online shopping or whatever. Same at the bus stop, at the café.
So how will this impact on dementia rates in the future and the age at which dementia first starts. Time will answer these questions.
Judy I have heard they already have camps in Japan for children addicted to Computer games, so the future is already here in terms of disconnection and having to rehabilitate antisocial behaviours,so I can’t imaging what it will be like in 50 years.