Saturday, January 21, 2017

Digital Minimalism

I'm not on Facebook. I don't follow Twitter, I don't have a smart phone. I am living in a digital desert. And it is voluntary.

It's not that I think these things are bad. If you can use them responsibly, I salute you. But I can't. I have a Pinterest problem -- I am perfectly happy to spend hours looking at the funny comments and beautiful crafts other people have pinned. I'm not happy about it, and I'm trying to cut back.

Because when I cut back on my electronic entertainments, I spend more time entertaining myself with other people. Last night we played a couple of (really goofy) board games, then watched a movie as a family. It was rare for us to have a Friday night home together, but without a little effort to get us started, I could easily have sat down "just to check a couple things" and spent an hour online.

Both kids suffered from my decision to keep us offline last night. They helped my cook dinner, and twenty minutes later we say down together. They could have spent those twenty minutes being really entertained, but instead they learned to make risotto (keep stirring!) and we talked about stuff. Not important stuff, but we talked all the same.

It's too easy for me to be lured in by easy entertainment and the desire to know things right now. It's easy for my husband to choose to play a game by himself on the computer instead of setting up a game for us to sit around, face to face.

Last night was one of the best family nights, one of the best weekends, I've had in a long time. Limiting digital access, minimizing easy distraction, was the step we needed to take to focus on each other for the night.

I don't expect to eliminate electronics from my family entirely. But by preventing myself from being entertained and distracted by Facebook and a smart phone, I am forced to look at my family as we sit waiting for class to begin, or out meal to arrive. In those moments we interact, and the time we have together is too limited for me to throw it away on my Pinterest boards.

Edited to add: I found an interesting article on Apartment Therapy on an editor who is fasting from social media for a month.

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