Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blackberry or Your Husband? 10 Signs Your Devices Are Hurting Your Relationships:

I heard this topic this morning on Regis and Kelly, but it was titled "Your Blackberry or your Wife?" The topic was very interesting to me because it went over the top 10 things that you or your husband may do that might actually be hurting your relationship!

10 Signs Your Devices Are Hurting Your Relationships:

1. You can't get through a meal without emailing, texting or talking on the phone.
2. You look at more than one screen at a time, checking email while watching television, for example.
3. You regularly email or text, other than for something urgent, while your partner or another family member is with you.
4. You sleep with your phone near you, and you check your email or texts while in bed.
5. You log onto your computer while in bed.
6. You have had an argument with a loved one about your use of technology.
7. You text or email while driving.
8. You no longer go outside for fun.
9. You never turn off your phone.
10. When you spend time with your family—a meal, a drive, hanging out—each person is looking at a different screen

When they read down this list, I felt bad because I do some of these things and so does my husband. It's funny because when he does some of these things, I get upset. I am going to send him this list and try to discuss some of our actions and see if we can tone it down a bit.
The following article is written by Elizabeth Bernstein. It is a really good read. I am really thinking about unplugging somethings!
For all our constant connectivity, our electronic devices often keep us apart. Texting causes misunderstandings. Facebook makes us jealous. Television makes us too lazy or tired or distracted for sex. (Don't believe me? A few years ago, an Italian study showed that couples who have a TV in the bedroom have sex half as often as those who do not.)

Some therapists prescribe tech cleanses for clients. Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill, a Mount Kisco, N.Y., marriage and family therapist, says technology is a distraction from family—and hard to resist because it's portable and provides instant gratification. It's also an easy escape if we're having trouble in a relationship. "Technology should be on the list of the top reasons why people divorce, along with money, sex and parenting," she says. She has seen couples who communicate almost entirely through text, email and phone messages. "There has to be some time in the week when you are all together and you shut off the technology," she says.

Last year, a group of Jewish artists and media professionals created the Sabbath Manifesto, a list of 10 principles to be followed one day a week in order to unwind. High on the list: "Avoid Technology." The group has declared a National Day of Unplugging, from sundown on Friday, March 4, until sundown on Saturday, March 5. Even the Dunphys, on hit TV sitcom "Modern Family," tried to go a week tech-free.

In "The Winter of Our Disconnect," a book coming out later this month, author Susan Maushart describes the technology fast she undertook with her three teenagers. Ms. Maushart says she was so attached to her iPhone that she slept with it under her pillow and started buying it "little outfits and jewelry." Her then-15-year-old son was addicted to videogames, and her 14- and 18-year-old daughters were consumed by social media.

"It got to the point where we would inhabit the same room, but we weren't connecting," says Ms. Maushart, 52, of Mattituck, N.Y.

For six months while living in Australia in 2009, she and her children unplugged everything with a screen. For entertainment, they went to the movies, ate family meals, played board games and read the newspaper on Saturday mornings. Her son rediscovered his saxophone. Her daughters began cooking and wrote a novel together.

To ensure her kids' participation, Ms. Maushart promised each a portion of her book proceeds. Her 14-year-old tired of the technology freeze and moved in with her father for six weeks (she eventually moved back). The trial was worth it. "We appreciate each other more," says Ms. Maushart.

Interested in a tech cleanse? Here are some tips from people who have learned from experience.
Give your family advance warning. They need time to prepare mentally.

Clarify your goal: Be careful not to swap technology use for some other isolating activity.

Wean yourself off gadgets gradually. Maybe a week—or even just one day—is too long to go unconnected at first.

Start when your kids are young. Rob and Lauren Webster tried a tech fast last year after realizing how often they plopped their kids, ages 1 and 2, in front of cartoons to keep them quiet. "I really don't want to screw up my kids," says Mr. Webster, 39, director of video production at a church in Leawood, Kan. When they unplugged and took the children to the park, "we found ourselves constantly engaged with our kids and with each other," he says.

Be clear on the rules. Will calls and emails for work be allowed? What about going online for homework? What are the consequences for cheating?

Let technology help you disconnect. Use Facebook, Twitter or email to tell friends and family that you will be offline. Have emails sent to your inbox in batches.

Make the bedroom a media-free zone.

When the cleanse is done, learn to avoid the time-suck of letting one Internet search lead to another and another. You can waste hours. Allow only one screen at a time. Give the TV, for example, your full attention, rather than also looking at your computer and iPhone.

The Broadnax family extended their tech cleanse for five days. Then one evening, Ms. Broadnax came home from work and found her husband and two daughters playing a trivia game, moving pieces around a game board and reading questions off the computer screen. All three were laughing. "Here was an almost perfect solution," says Ms. Broadnax. "It was family interaction with technology. The screen was there, but it wasn't the focal point."


Lacy said...

Me and my husband are quilty of this, I need to show him this list.

ToshaDevon said...

Hmmmmm good topic!!! I think social networks and technology are both culprits...However, we humans are the brains behind the machines...Know when to say when!!! Another great topic B!!!

BJ said...

Thanks Tosha!

Lotta said...

I am so guilty of this...but I am a techy by nature...am in the IT field...so I always 'want' the newest and latest technology...but our society has also branded us IF you don't have the latest this and that you are not socially acceptable. Also if you don't do what the majority is doing ie: Social Networks then your are lame. But technology has alot of perks. But I agree with ToshaDevon we must know when to say when. My hubby has let me know on many occasions I am on my iPhone and laptop and not paying him any attention, but the situation has been reversed to. We all must learn how to put it down. :-)