These days the ultimate detox is to get off the grid, be uncontractable and disconnected from the digital world. There is so much to be said for a few days of this to enhance family life. In fact, I am a firm believer that we are going to see a whole movement towards, and development of, ‘off the grid holiday destinations’.
While we all get withdrawal symptoms initially from being out of range, within a day or two there is a sense of relief at not having to be ‘always on’ and responding to constant messages via a plethora instant messaging and social media apps. Your kids will probably grizzle for a while too until they adapt. My children are quite vocal about how nice it is to not be constantly checking their devices and being expected to respond.
Pressure to respond to messages
There is a big difference between expectation of response time, whether you are an adult or a tween/teen. As adults if we don’t respond to a Whatsapp message for a day or two or don’t receive a response to one we have sent, for example, we don’t feel bad or offended. Our children, on the other hand, expect their mates to respond within just a few seconds otherwise they can feel slighted or socially snubbed. The same goes for social media. If no-one responds to their posts they can feel positively rejected, sending their self-esteem down the toilet. This, in turn, can result in kids saying and doing riskier stuff online to grab other people’s attention, to get responses and likes.
Detoxing from a life filled with far too much social media and constant connectivity gives families the opportunity to spend quality time together, to really ‘see’ each other and ‘hear’ each other. Take the opportunity to:
- Drench yourselves in nature
- Focus clearly on your surroundings
- Wind down
- Experience joy at disconnecting
- Feel time slipping away
- Do different things that you wouldn’t normally do
- Play games together
- Not have one’s self-esteem either built or destroyed by virtual connections and communication
While we crave connection, we really do need to disconnect to reconnect with each other on a human level. We need to stop for a while to rediscover what it means to be a human being with human emotions and human needs. Digital is great for productivity and helping us to communicate and stay connected, but it doesn’t fill the emotional void and our craving for the human touch. There is a time and a place for sharing time and space together, without digital distractions. Make sure you make time to fill your family’s emotional cup in this way.
Get off the grid! It’s your choice.
“There is a time and a place for sharing time and space together,
without digital distractions.”