March 1–2 is National Day of Unplugging. It is supposed to be two days of unwinding and taking a break from the screen.
For the last couple of years, I either turn off my phone or don’t bring my phone to a restaurant when I’m having dinner with my husband. I made it a point to give him my full attention out of respect and love that I have for him. But last night, my two grandkids, 4 and 7 years old, who were spending the night at Papa and Nana’s were both on their mini iPads watching YouTube Kids or playing video games. Nana (that’s me) was on her laptop working and sending emails to clients. The only one who wasn’t on a computer or an iPad was my husband, who watching reruns of the television show Shark Tank — not that it’s any better. What made the whole situation so odd was that no one was talking to each other, no one was looking to see what the other person was doing. It was almost “robotic” in the sense that we were all staring at screens.
As someone who grew up in the Generation X era, gone are the days when kids ruled the neighborhoods and played outside until it got dark. Growing up I remember playing games like hide and seek, kick the can, and red rover. I still remember the bike I rode. My bike was a pretty blue metallic color with a flower-patterned banana boat seat and a fancy basket that hung on the handlebars, and where I’d set my transistor radio as I listened to Tony Orlando singing “Yellow Ribbon.” Uh-hmm, yeah, those were the good ol days.
So reminiscing about childhood years reminded me of what the kids today are missing out on when they spend too much time on the mobile phone, iPad, and computer. It made me realize, especially for my own grandchildren, how they don’t get to REALLY enjoy the day without spending it looking at a screen for hours! True, that the world we live in is not the same world many of us grew up in as Generation Xers. But that doesn’t mean that we still can’t make the time we spend with family a more meaningful and valuable experience.
Whether it’s going for a walk or taking the grandkids to the park or zoo, my goal for the rest of the year, and not just on National Day of Unplugging, is to take a break from the virtual world of mobile devices and computers more often to spend quality time with my family.
Today is the last day, how are you going to make today count and celebrate National Day of Unplugging?