I read a news article last week about an Australian mom who forced her family to “unplug” from all electronic devices for six months. The mom, a professional writer named Susan Maushart, has three teenagers. She banned the Internet, cell phones, iPods, television and video games. She even wrote a book about the experience cleverly titled “The Winter of Our Disconnect.”
Apparently, this experiment was very successful. The mom says her kids spent more time together, took up new hobbies, and did better in school.
This story inspired me to do some unplugging of my own. Too often, I have wasted entire weekends staring at a computer screen. My daughter, who is 8, comes home from school and immediately turns on the computer to play Webkinz with her friends online. My son, who is 6, has been known to play Batman Lego on Wii for hours at a time with no food, drink, or bathroom breaks. My husband trolls Facebook for hours watching every inane, vulgar video his friends post.
I’ve had enough. I want my family back.
So I decided to implement Unplugged Sundays. Starting this Sunday, no one in our house will be allowed to watch TV, play video games or use the computer for one whole day. We will have a full day of uninterrupted family time.
My kids may think otherwise, but I will definitely have the hardest time with Unplugged Sundays. I have at least five articles to write this weekend in addition to researching all the others I plan to write next week. But I go through with it for my family’s sake. I want to see what it’s like to live in reality again, to experience the world in a non-virtual way again. I’m tired of being a family of zombies.
My kids are just beginning to get sucked into the virtual world. While I can’t stop them from being a part of it, I can teach them the importance of purposefully unplugging every now and then.
I will keep you posted on how our Unplugged Sundays go. And if you try it with your own family, feel free to share your story with us!