This article originally caught my eye because my partner and I are in the middle of a detox (no alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar, no junk food for 2 weeks…it’s been awful. The three pounds I’ve lost is in no way worth it. Come Friday, I am going to drink 3 bottles of wine and eat at least a whole cake). However, I think this sort of detox might be more useful to me than the one I’m currently on.
The Wall Street Journal has done a piece on the potential benefits of a technology cleanse: removing anything with a screen from your home life for a set period of time.
From the article:
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.
I can easily see how technology can affect a relationship. I am on Blackberry (I say that like I’m on a medication for a reason), and my phone is constantly flashing with work demands. I work the sort of job where at any time of the night I might get a phone call from one of our clients who have missed their flight/are lost/are having an issue at the venue/don’t know where they are going/etc., and because of this, I never have my phone off. But I should. I know it drives my partner mad that I jump the second my phone makes a noise, that I never go more than a few hours without checking it. We have been out to events where I will have to leave to go handle some work thing, and times when we have been half asleep when my phone would go off and he’d grumble ‘Just answer it…’. Even on vacation I keep it on, as I inevitably receive a few emails that have to be answered (I once had a colleague who told me that when she goes away, she changes her email reply and voicemail message to insitrcut “If this is an urgent matter, please contact my mother at xxx.xxx.xxxx. She will put you in contact with me,” brilliantly guessing that no matter is urgent enough that someone is going to want to call her mother).
But aside from my Blackberry issues, we are technology heavy people; when he is watching something on TV I don’t want to watch (which is likely something involving the military or some sort of theoretical space show we have seen a billion times), I will be messing around on my laptop, looking at blogs. We’re in the same room, but we might as well not be.
The idea of giving up technology for a month sounds amazing (a week I know I can do- when we go to the cottage in the summer we have nothing but a radio, and that suits us just fine), but I’m just not sure we could do it. Even if my work place ceased to exist, I would miss the internet, I’d miss TV, and even my stupid Blackberry. Although I am not sure how much difference would be seen in my relationship (I don’t really think that technology has lead to a disconnect, so much as a mild annoyance when we’re trying to get each others’ attention), I would love to break my dependence on technology. I would like to see my phone flashing, and really just not care to check to see why. I would love to just stop watching TV- there’s nothing good on anyways. And the internet…well, I’m not sure I want to give that up, but I sure could spend less time on it. I’d also like to see if I viewed the world differently without technology- I know I gave up listening to my iPod in public a few years ago because I found it was distracting me from far more interesting things that were going on around me.
What do you think? Do you think you could do with a technology cleanse?