Thursday, August 25, 2011

Completely Wired

I have a dare for you, and should you decide to take the challenge, do so after you read this article. Deal? Good.
I dare you to unplug yourself for an entire 24 hours. You heard me. UNPLUG yourself. That means no computers, no i-touch, no Tablets or iPads, no smart phones or cell phones. Are you feeling uneasy? Nervous? Are ya shaking….making excuses in your head as to why you need to stay connected?
As I look around my house, I see desktop computers, laptops, game consoles, Nintendo DS game devices, ipods and cell phones allbeing used at the same time, not to mention the TV. This is the digital world. Technology has advanced so far that it's drastically improved our lives...or has it?
How many of you are like get excited when you hear that little chime or buzz from your cell phone, telling you...hey, you've got a message. You eagerly pick it up, take a look...."wuu2" text back..."nmjc u?" (translation: What are you up to? Not much, just chillin' you?) ...and then you wait for the reply...waiting for something profound to be texted back...waiting for the next rush.
As I write this article, I have come to grips that I am a hypocrite. I'm constantly yelling at the kids to get off the computer, to stop playing with the DS, to turn off the TV and to hand over the iPhone...spewing sage advice, "You guys need to go do something productive, be creative, go play...go outside and have fun (ok, you get a pass on that due to the constant presence of snow blocking the door), but come on already. Get off the computer, I need to use it!" Hmmmmm...
What got me thinking about this subject was an incident that occurred just a few weeks back. Early Friday morning, my sister packed up her two kids and schlepped them all the way here so that the cousins could play. My niece (4) and nephew (2) were very excited about coming to play with their older cousins (ok, we assume, for this article, that my nephew was able to indicate his excitement). The point is that they came all the way from cow country Pennsylvania to visit. 
Once they finally arrived, there was a great show of affection, but within half an hour...silence. My sister and I turned around and saw that my son was back on the computer, watching someone play video games on YouTube (who would've thought that watching others play video games would be entertaining), my oldest daughter was watching Hulu on her iPhone while texting her friends and my youngest was glued to the TV (her reasoning...."I've only watched this 100 times"), leaving the two younger cousins with nothing to do but to climb on my sister.
I'm beginning to feel that all of this technology — the gaming, social networking, surfing, poking, pinging, texting, tweeting, blogging, digging, liking, friending or de-friending in some cases, is really not that great.
I don't think that our kids know how to just be themselves, enjoy life, unattached to the cyber world...what do you think?
Please don’t think that I’m anti-technology. It’s quite the opposite…I embrace technology...fine…I confess, I'm constantly plugged in…always online…I’m completely wired. Aren’t you? If you text me or email me, I usually respond in a nano second. At home, you can find me perched at the kitchen counter in front of my computer, listening to my playlist on Grooveshark while searching for something "important" online, cell phone within a few inches of my hand.
In fact, I think that my husband got jealous of my relationship with my computer, so he recently bought me an iPad . Foolish, foolish I just go to bed with my iPad snuggled right next to me. What? At least now I'm in bed when the clock strikes twelve.
But in all seriousness, this 24/7 connectivity is not good for the developing brain. Researchers have found that all this constant distraction not only affects how our kids learn, but also how they absorb new information, so.....what is a good mother to do?
My plan: I'm gonna try and limit the time spent on the various devices and force the kids to interact with real human beings, like us (their parents), siblings or cousins who hail from PA.
Me? Well...I’m a lost cause. My brain is really not "developing" in that way anymore...and it's already a sieve (thanks to the three little humans that now reside with me), so I need my iPad, Google calendar and cell phone to remember things and get things done...I need to stay connected, plugged in...wired.
My advice to you: Do as I say, not as I do.
But before you unplug yourself, do me a favor….if you “Digg” this article, be sure to “Like” it on FB, and “Friend me” if you get the chance…you can also follow my Tweets for more upcoming blogs and I’ll make sure to “poke” you once in a while.
gtg cya l8r
ciao :) <3
* This is an article I wrote for an online news site

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