My Family Disconnected To Connect And It Was Our Best Decision

One family discusses their decision to forgo all digital devices and social media for face-to-face contact

In a world where “connecting” more often happens over social media networks than in person, disconnecting is not an easy thing. We spend so much time being connected socially that we forget about the things that are truly important. With social media notifications and emails delivered straight to our smart phones, text messaging and instant access to the internet and all that it has to offer, our generation of parents find it increasingly difficult to disconnect from technology and truly connect with our kids.

Our family was being plagued by the “connection disease,” and I knew it had to stop. My husband and I made a goal that for one week, we would not go on social media, read emails or text messages, or anything else on our phones while our kids were awake. Those things could be enjoyed after they went to bed or before they got up, but while we were in their presence, we want to enjoy being in their presence.

The first day was a challenge. We had grown accustomed to checking our phones whenever we wanted. As the week continued, we began to see the results of our digital detox.

Our children began to behave better—as they felt more listened to, they started to listen to us more. It felt good to connect with them on a personal level. We played games, did magic tricks and enjoyed spending time together. We planned a family picnic, played at the park and rode bikes. At bedtime we read stories, sang songs, and overall felt a deeper connection as a family.

Disconnecting from the digital age to connect with our kids was not a sacrifice, but one of the best things we have ever done.

As the week wore on, we were not even tempted to get online when the kids were sleeping as we used those moments to build our relationship as a couple. We had deeper conversations where we talked and listened instead of just pretending to while we stared at our phones. We were reminded that our most meaningful moments are not the ones spent reading about other people’s lives on social media or responding to the “urgent” text message from a friend.

No, the most meaningful moments were the ones spent creating memories with our kids, connecting with them and each other on a deeper level and showing how much we truly love being a family.

At the end of our week long experiment, I found it was not even tempting to go back to my old way of connecting. I enjoyed the freedom from my digital devices and seeing how my relationships flourished in just a week’s time made me even more reluctant to go back to my old habits.

Together, we re-learned that connecting with humans rather than electronics is more fulfilling. We suddenly had time to get our list of to-do’s done. We found time to clean, cook, exercise and ride bikes with the kids. We spent time really talking and listening to each other and learning more about each other’s day to day lives, goals and trials.

We made deeper connections with other people when we were in the moment and enjoying conversations with them face-to-face rather than pretending to be interested while scrolling through out phones.

The biggest thing we learned is that social media anxiety is real. While we were apprehensive about disconnecting for a week, the results were amazing and my stress levels actually decreased. Most of my business revolves around being online, but through this challenge I learned to set limits and boundaries with time spent online making it more productive and less time consuming.

Disconnecting to connect with the world around me is one of the best things I have ever done. 

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