Guided By Values

4 Tips for Mindful Tech This Holiday Season

Posted by Julie O'Rourke on Dec 18, 2019 9:00:28 AM

Untitled design-2Holidays are times of tradition that can change very little from year to year. Yet, because technology has grown exponentially, and is so embedded in our daily functioning, how do preserve our traditions for family time together over the holidays? The following suggestions offer a mindful technology framework for this holiday season intended to balance the traditions of your family’s time together with the reality of technology. 

Denise DeRosa, founder of Cyber Sensible, a digital wellness organization, offers up these four tips for mindful technology usage this holiday season.

Discuss Expectations Upfront

Getting online can be like drinking from a firehose. There is so much out there to see, buy, watch, click, read, download, reply, comment, post… but is it possible to enjoy anything when the consuming is unremitting? The problem with the internet is that it never ends, no matter how furiously we scroll through our updates. If we are on our devices constantly being served what’s next, can we appreciate what is in front of us? It is time we all slow down to not overindulge, take a moment to reflect, digest and process, before rushing through to the next video, post or article. The internet will still be on tomorrow. Talk to your family about how important this time is for you. Set tech-free times and zones before the holidays kick-off. Talk to your family about how important this time is for you. Set tech-free times and zones before the holidays kick-off.

Use Tech To Your Advantage

Set limits for tech use, but let’s be honest: going cold turkey is not going to be pleasant. Instead, gather the people you love around technology. Ask your daughter to select a playlist for background music at dinner. Get your son to pick some holiday movies to watch on Netflix. Skype or FaceTime friends and family who were unable to make the trip home. Have your little ones choose some games you could play together on Xbox or Wii U. Share special moments on social media for your far-off loved ones to see, but don’t overdo it. Focus on those in front of you. In short, keep digital distractions to a minimum by incorporating tech in ways that can bring you together.

Allow Downtime

Hosting, small talk, and running from party to party can be exhausting. Tell your kids that as long as they are present and in the moment at key family times, you will grant them some time to relax. Their chill time may include texting with friends or mindless moments on YouTube, but be firm in your expectations upfront. Then let them know you will cut them some slack as long as they follow the rules.

Be Practical, Not Perfect

Finally, be reasonable about your expectations. Technology is so woven in to our lives that eliminating all devices during the holidays is not only unreasonable, it is practically impossible. Have an open discussion ahead of the holiday rush. Involve your children in establishing the rules and limits. Agree upfront to acceptable digital etiquette during the holidays. Then everyone can focus on what’s most important: being together.

WANT MORE? Join us at The Peck School on Wednesday, January 15 at 7 p.m. or Thursday, January 18 at 8:15 a.m. for Practical Advice for Parenting in the Digital Age with founder of Cyber Sensible, Denise DeRosa.