As I mentioned in my post of April 18th, last week was a declared Digital Detox Week in our home. The television was unplugged. Handheld video games were not allowed. The computer was turned off--even for grownups--with the exception of a short time before the children were up, when I did the necessary work for our Etsy shop. This was a big change for us, and I had a feeling it would be interesting to see what the results would be.
I was right! The results were interesting. First and foremost, we did a lot of fun things together, the children and I. More than we normally would have over the course of a "normal" week.
There was lots of artwork, playdough and colouring:
Lots of crafting too--Kira worked quite a bit on this crazy quilt pillowcase:
We also had fun washing the car:
Since Chris's birthday was this past week, the children also had fun helping me make a raspberry cheesecake to celebrate that occasion! (yum) And they worked hard on some pretty awesome birthday cards. Owen drew this totally cool drawing of Luke and Leia for his Dad (who is a Star Wars fan);
So overall, it was a great week. I expected that if the kids weren't watching tv, and I wasn't spending time on the computer, we would have fun...but there were some things that actually surprised me about the week.
For one thing, I was shocked at how much more quiet and peaceful our house felt. Not only because the background noise of the tv was absent, but because there was no hum of the computer fans, either. (Yes, our computer is quite old, and rather loud!) I really, really enjoyed this newfound quiet.
I was surprised at how much less rushed I felt, especially in the mornings. Usually I try to balance checking email and reading blogs with doing my children's homeschool lessons in the morning, along with the necessary stuff like breakfast and snacks. When I took the computer out of the mix, I suddenly felt so much more organized, and our lessons got done more smoothly.
Another surprising observation was that although the first day or two, I kept feeling like I should be checking my email all the time, by the end of the week, I didn't feel like turning on the computer at all. It was more like I felt obligated to check my email and Etsy shop once a day, but I didn't really want to. I guess this means that it didn't take too long to get out of the habit of doing those things, and get my mind running along other channels.
The most surprising thing though, was that at the end of each day, I felt much more tired than usual. This forces me to admit that I am spending too much time sitting on a chair in front of the computer on a usual day. I am making my own lifestyle too sedentary. When the computer was turned off, I spent more time being active, gardening, and just being outside, and my body felt the difference.
This last point especially, has made me conclude that I should continue limiting tv and computer for our family. I don't want to be rid of our tv altogether; there are a few shows and movies we enjoy watching on DVD, and there are educational shows too that I wouldn't want to give up; but I am going to ensure in the future that the tv doesn't get overused. As for the computer--now that I see how much less frazzled I can feel without it, and how much more active my days were without it--I am going to limit my own use. I can't get rid of the computer entirely; our family business is operated online. Nor would I want to stop using the Internet, because I've really come to enjoy reading all my favourite blogs every day, and connecting with others of similar interests that way. But I am going put limits on myself, and make sure that I am not putting the computer before "real life."
So that's that! I encourage anyone out there who is reading this, to try having your own Digital Detox Week...you might just be glad you did! :)