The Technology-Free Zone

Last week I shared about my no Netflix resolution for 2018. This resolution wasn’t about movies, or Amazon video, or Watch ESPN, or anything like that; the resolution was specifically about too much of one specific source of media consumption. However, this resolution did not come about in isolation. No, this resolution has a fraternal twin:

No technology in the bedroom.

You might think this resolution came from a desire to be a better husband and devote more time to Courtney, but it didn’t. You might think that this resolution came about through careful examination of my heart and my habits, but it didn’t.

No, this resolution came about from a random conversation with one of my kids.

Christmas Eve was fast approaching. We aren’t a Santa Claus house, but we also aren’t NOT a Santa Claus house—if that makes sense. We have done nothing to convince our kids that some large, bearded man in red comes into our house one night a year to bring presents. Nor do we get dogmatic when parents talk to my kids like, “Are you so excited Santa is coming?” I just tell the boys to roll with it because people are weird.

Well, heading into Christmas Eve one of my children was explaining how he thought the presents showed up on Christmas morning. He had several stories, but one of them went like this:

Well, on Christmas Eve, after we go to bed, you and mama go to the store. And you leave cardboard cutouts in the bedroom so that people think that you are home. And you are on your computer in your bed.

There was more to the story, but that was enough to give me pause. If some random cardboard cutout of me existed in my bed, it would include me on my laptop. Yikes. Not only did that give me pause but is a little embarrassing as a dad.

That’s when I thought, I need to try and break that specific image of me using technology. That’s where the “No technology in the bedroom” rule came about. Just like “No Netflix,” the rule exists only for me. Also, full disclosure: I’ve already broken it. I might be on the phone and wander into the bedroom, but the kids generally run in and tell me to get out.

This resolution is not about using the computer less, either. It is simply about the location. Do I hope that the resolution leads to less computer time? Absolutely. However, I’m not going to heap all kinds of expectations on this one resolution.

Also, our phone usage is extremely high. When my phone is by my bed, it is the first thing I check when I wake up (and I don’t even have Facebook!). It doesn’t matter if I get up at 2am, 4am, 7am, or any other time: I was programmed to wake up and check my phone. It is unnecessary and it is distracting.

If you come into the room now, you’ll see alarm clocks (one for me and one for Courtney). Real alarm clocks. I honestly had to remember how to set them because it had been so long. Phones get charged in the living room (at times I’ll set an alarm on them in case I have to get up and am afraid I might miss hearing my alarm clock—which has already happened).

The hope for this resolution (along with the no Netflix): That I can sleep more (I don’t get a lot as-is), refocus my time, enjoy my evenings differently (and hopefully more purposefully), and show my kids that I hear them.

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