Now, in a valiant attempt to alert the irony police.... I'm gonna spend today talking about one of my favorite topics- Technology and Mental Health. More specifically- my own journey as I balance my love of technology and my love of being mentally healthy.
A few scary facts:
-The total average time [of television viewing] per household in 2005-06 was eight hours and 14 minutes per day.
-- Reuters (September 22, 2006)
-Children ages 8–18 spend the following amount of time in front of the screen, daily:
• Approximately 4.5 hours watching TV
• Approximately 1.5 hours on the computer
• Over an hour playing video games
..... and 25 minutes reading books.
- The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.
-- (A.C. Nielsen Co.)
Yikes. I do not share these statistics from a place of finger-pointing superiority. Trust me on this. (As I type, my child is engrossed in Mickey- I'm embarrassed to say.) When I was preparing for a recent speaking gig, I came across these stats and let me tell you- they cut through me like a knife. No one understands the allure of tv like a mom-of-a-toddler-who-tries-to-work-from-home-two-days-a-week. *Insert blushing emoticon here*.
But no one understands the heart-breaking distance in today's modern family like a therapist-who-specializes-in-seeing-the-whole-family either...
What to do, what to do....?
So it seemed only appropriate that I stumbled across The Sabbath Manifesto - which you've probably seen me posting a great deal lately. Regardless of your faith background, I think this old idea's time has come. The creators of The Sabbath Manifesto encourage everyone to take one day a week to:
1. Avoid technology
2. Connect with loved ones
4. Get outside
5. Avoid commerce
6. Light candles
7. Drink wine
8. Eat bread
9. Find silence
10. Give back
They even leave each item open to interpretation. (This is more a spirit of the law over letter of the law- kind of situation- and lets face it, some items may not work for you.)
So in my family, we've accepted the challenge. I'll be sharing our experiences in the next few days. For now, I want to give you a chance to consider- just ONE day a week... reconnecting with loved ones and stepping away from distraction. Statistically that ONE day will save you 8 hours of tv time as a family. Imagine what you could do with 8 collective hours!
Wishing you a connected family
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