Welcome to the Dead Zone

Cell phones, computers, and other technology have many benefits when we carefully manage their use. However, technology devices seem to be taking over our lives. Check out  Modern mobile phonesthese mobile device statistics I recently read (7 Important Reasons to Unplug):
• 84% of cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their phone.
• Mobile device owners check their devices as often every 6.5 minutes…and 67% do so even if they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.
• 88% of US consumers use mobile devices as a second screen while watching TV.
• Some researchers have begun labeling “cell phone checking” as the new yawn because of its contagious nature!
• This simple pictorial, Your Brain on Screen Time, explains other cell phone statistics.

Technology has become a part of our world. It has crept into every moment of our life, even our sex lives (20% of 18-34-year-olds have admitted to using their phone during sex according to this CBS News report!).

This all sounds overwhelming to me. However, we have an amazing power…a power that allows us to control the impact of technology in our lives; and we possess this amazing power in a single finger. That’s right; we can use the power of a single finger to turn our cell phones off. I know it sounds silly, but it really is powerful. By turning our electric devices off, we can create technology dead zones, times in which all technology is off and we simply interact with one another. I would suggest creating several technological dead zones in your family life. For instance, make bedtime and the hour before bed time a technological dead zone, as well as dinner time. Agree that vacations and family outings will be technological dead zones and power down. When you commit to technological dead zones at strategic times in our family life, you and your family will experience several benefits.

  • You will experience greater stillness and solitude, a time to refresh and re-create a sense of peace. Your mind can rest for the moment in the quietness of nature. In so doing, you can experience the awe of nature–the beautiful colors, the singing of birds, the warmth of the sun, the softness of grass. And, you can share this enjoyment with your family.
    • You will experience better communication within the family. You will learn to respond appropriately to subtle facial expressions and you can teach your children to do the same. You can learn how to make comments without using a litany of abbreviations like LOL, OMG, etc.
    • You will experience the joy of the here and now with your family (Read about it here). Studies have shown that having a cell phone nearby raises our fear of missing out. We feel the need to answer the cell phone buzz and respond to notifications so we don’t miss out on some “important” message, news item, or one of our friends’ multiple posts about going shopping. As a result, we miss the joy of experiencing the present moment with our family. Power down. Enjoy the moment with those you love. Smell the roses with your family.
    • You will increase a sense of appreciation and gratitude to share with your family. When we look at Facebook and other social media accounts, we see pictures posted of everyone’s special, happy moments. We might begin to question ourselves. We might feel jealous of their joy or just plain lonely. Turn off the social media and enjoy a dead zone. In the dead zone you can reset your focus to realize all the blessings you have. Share your gratitude and appreciation in person with your family.
    • You and your family will sleep better. Having a technology dead zone before bed has been shown to improve sleep.

I invite you to enjoy the technology dead zone with your family—a place of peace, improved communication, increased gratitude and appreciation, better sleep, and the joyous experience of the present. Be careful though. You and your family may find you like the dead zone so much you never want to leave!

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