Sunday, February 20, 2011


Lately, I have started feeling overwhelmed by the amount of electronics in my life.  The amount of time we as a family spend watching TV, using the computer, and playing video games seems to build until it reaches a threshold where it’s officially too much.

My kids turn on the TV when they get up, and watch as they get ready for the day.  Then, its on most of the day, even when no one is watching it.  If we get busy playing something, the sounds of one show or another seems to draw them into to “seeing what’s on”.  My now 2 year old will bring us the “mote” and say “ tee-lee?”.

Everyone at our house enjoys video games. Most often, when I declare it time to turn of the TV, I hear, “Can I play DS or Wii instead?”.  With an entire house full of toys, its mind boggling to me that those are always chosen first.

I’m not innocent either!  I leave my computer on 24 hours a day, usually with the internet on, and Facebook going.  If I am busy playing with the kids, I am often suckered in by those little red notices that someone has posted something, or sent me a message.  Instead of a useful tool, Facebook often feels like an addiction!  I feel weird if the computer is totally off.

Last year, for Lent, I gave up TV and Facebook.  I learned some interesting things.  first, the withdrawal symptoms go away after a bit.  Secondly, I learned just how dependant I’d become.  As a busy mom, it is often fastest and most convenient to stay in touch with my friends over Facebook.  But, it can become pretty superficial instead of a true friendship pretty quickly.  I realized that I come to rely on it as my main and almost only source of communicating with friends.  I don’t make an effort to call friends, or touch base with them, or make coffee dates as well if they are not on Facebook.  I definitely felt cut off from what was going on with most of my friends when I gave up Facebook!  I felt isolated at home with the kids when I didn’t chat with anyone on the computer off and on throughout the day.   Third, I realized how much of my time I had been wasting.

Going TV-free showed me a few things too.  Mostly, just how much time we are wasting as a family.  I also noticed how many opportunities we were missing out on, like enjoying crafts, reading or other activities instead.  I really doubt that at the end of my life I will wish I had watched just one more episode of some show!

Certain parts of the year are worse for this than others at our home.  We definitely spend more time plugged into things in the winter when it’s often too cold to enjoy outdoor things.  Our family really loves being outdoors, so once spring arrives with it’s nicer weather, we all enjoy going out instead.  During the summer months, we play in our yard a lot, and enjoy local parks and lakes.

Starting last fall, when I felt so sick because of this pregnancy, our TV time started to creep up again.  I knew it wouldn’t help down the road, but honestly, I just did what I needed to do to cope with being sick while entertaining an 18 month old.  Most times in my life, I have enjoyed the feeling of just being in my home, or anywhere, with no background noises.   While I thoroughly enjoy music, I have been very comfortable in silence.  Now I find that I feel anxious without the TV, or music, going in the background.  I feel antsy in the quiet, and even if I want to read a book, I often have the TV on at the same time.  It’s like an addiction!

I have officially come to the point where I am sick of this.  I hate when the kids stop paying attention to a conversation because they are drifting to the TV.  I hate that I feel weird if the house is quiet, if we are playing without music on, or if the computer is not powered up.  There is nothing innately wrong with the TV, the computer or the video games, but it’s time to re-focus my family’s time.

I’m thinking of giving up or strictly cutting down on our electronics time as lent approaches, to make more time for the things our family finds important, like devotional time, family and friends, reading, playing and crafts.  I have determined to be more intentional about being a friend, and I want to catch up on my letter writing.  My God, my family and my friends deserve my un-distracted attention!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds awesome Melissa, you will do great! If you need to have some more visits I will be there for you. ;)

    I hope it won't be a huge struggle for you. Just bring on the puzzles ( heeee hee)

    have a great day!



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