1. When did you first realize that you needed to disconnect from your phone and the internet in order to really live your life? Was it a defining moment or a slow burn?
I realized it when I was sitting at the pool with my kids a few years ago, and instead of engaging with them, I kept checking my phone. Over and over and over again. I didn’t like what I was doing. It was then that decided to get a “dumb” phone, a flip phone, and get rid of my iphone. I kept that flip phone for nearly a year, and it really helped me to feeling as though I needed to constantly check in on all the online distractions. Now, I have an iPhone again, and I’m glad, but I do have to be aware of how easily it can distract. One of the things I do, for example, is keep the phone on the far side of bedside table and put my bible where I would normally have put my phone. I want to get the Word in before I get online.
2. How did you actually make those changes? I think we’ve all talked about picking up our phone less, but sometimes it’s easier said than done.
I made little changes, like the one above, putting my phone away from my reach. I also turn off all notifications so I don’t hear any dings that call me to check, check, check. I think it will always be a struggle, but the old adage is certainly true: out of sight, out of mind. I keep my phone and computer out of site as much as I can when I’m not needing to use them.
3. What are your personal technology boundaries now? How do you protect your offline life without becoming caught up in rules and regulations about when you can or can’t be online?
One boundary I have is to read the Bible before I get online. I also do things to nurture my “real” life so that I would rather be offline than online. It helps to think of my kids watching me as well; I don’t want them to their mom always on the phone or computer.
4. Do your boundaries change with the seasons (physical seasons of the year as well as the seasons of your life)?
I’m always growing and stretching into myself and new seasons, so it’s hard to say. Certainly being stuck indoors during the winter can lend itself to the call of the Internet more so than the summer, but it’s all really about life and enjoying life in the realness of it. I like being present in person.
5. As someone who works on the internet and can call social media part of your job, how do you protect the boundaries you’ve set?
It’s tough, for sure. It helps that I don’t consider what I do a job, in the sense that I don’t have to do it. I can keep my computer put away and just pull it out when I really feel like I have something to write on my blog or Facebook or other social media. I enjoy sharing as much as the next person, but again, I truly want to love the life I’m in and be present for it.
I protect boundaries by thinking about the consequences of too much time online: depression, discouragement, my house falling apart, neglecting my kids, etc. I try to live in a way that I won’t look back and regret one day. Sure, I botch this up, but it’s an ideal I’m not willing to give up on.
6. Although your children are still little, what rules do you think you’ll set for things like social media and technology as they get older?
It’s hard to say for sure, but right now, we don’t do iPod’s or iPhones with our kids. No blogging or FB accounts or anything like that. I’m going to hold them off as long as possible. It helps that we homeschool, but I know at some point as they get older we’ll have to have more discussions about technology and responsible use. I want them to learn how to use technology while I have them in the home, but we probably won’t do much with it until they are mid-teens. I mean, I’m saying this as a mother of a 10, 8, and 6 year old. Ask me in a few years! 😉