Thursday, February 6, 2014

Choose to be Present

Our society is so technology dependent, it's almost scary. 
We can't seem to do anything without snapping a picture and uploading it to Facebook, Instagram, tweeting about it, etc. Don't get me wrong. I love social networking sites in moderation
Brad and I are really far from our family and friends, and it is a great blessing to be able to 
keep up with them, see their pictures, and read about what is going on in their lives. 
But moderation is the key in everything. 
I fear that social networking can become an addiction. 

You've all seen it. We are all guilty of it sometimes. 

Going out on a date, but checking your phone when it buzzes. Maybe even checking FB/instagram/etc.
Being in a room full of family but texting your friends. 
Putting in ear buds to listen to music instead of participating in the conversation.
Playing games on a smart phone instead of paying attention in class or even at church...
Checking status updates all day instead of going out and creating memories with those people.
Sitting by your spouse, but both on different devices, connecting with different people.

The list could go on.

This morning, I read a wonderful article on about technology use that really got me thinking. You can read the entire article here, but I will be sharing some parts along with my reaction.


Keeping Safe and Balanced in a Google-YouTube-Twitter-Facebook-iEverything World

By Jan Pinborough

10 Signs of Digital Overload

1. Slipping away from activities with people to check e-mail or social networking sites.

2. Checking the same sites repeatedly within a short period of time. 

3. Spending little time outside.

4. Finding it hard to complete a task such as writing a report without 
frequently breaking away to check e-mail or unrelated websites.

5. Spending little time in face-to-face interactions with friends.

6. Going online or using a digital device when you feel stressed 
or want to avoid an unpleasant task.

7. Family members spending most of their time at home in separate rooms 
interacting with screens.

8. Frequently using digital devices to entertain a child instead of talking, singing, 
playing, or reading with him or her.

9. Checking the computer first thing in the morning, or getting up 
during the night to use digital devices.

10. Spending long stretches of time surfing for content, often viewing 
content that is inappropriate or borderline.

10 Ways to Cut Back

1. Check and answer e-mail only once or twice a day, at scheduled times.

2. Use social networking sites only at scheduled times and for a set number of minutes.

3. Practice a “digital Sabbath”—setting aside one or two days each week to “unplug.”

4. Leave your cell phone in another room during time with family or friends.

5. Call instead of texting.

6. Invite children to help search the house for supplies that can be used in nondigital activities: children’s books, board games, art supplies, and equipment for outside play.

7. Organize a talent show, art show, or service project with family or friends.

8. Use Internet-blocking software to keep on task while working.

9. Limit recreational surfing; watch TV and videos selectively and intentionally.

10. Keep a gospel-centered perspective, using technology                                                                to uplift yourself and people around you.

Technology can be a great blessing when used correctly. 
It can also become an addiction without us even knowing it, or a distraction from more worthy tasks. 
I am not saying that there is anything wrong with social networking, googling interesting facts, etc. 
I am just encouraging all of us, me included, to make the best choices when it comes to technology.
 For example, I really enjoy reading my family member's blogs and status updates to keep up 
with them and what they are doing. I love to read blogs that uplift and inspire me. 
I have learned that if I read more shallow blogs that I feel a desire for more worldly things, clothes, etc. I know myself and I know that those don't make me feel good, so I steer clear. 
I love that we can use the internet to learn more about the gospel, do family history work, share truths, find great ideas, and encourage one another. I love that through the internet, I can still keep up 
with my beloved friends in Argentina and companions from all over South America. 

I don't love that last night (and most nights), after hours of homework, I chose to "de-stress" 
by checking Facebook instead of choosing something more substantial. 
I don't love that I feel almost a need to look at the new ideas on Pinterest every day, 
but rarely actually do any of the projects that I find. 
I don't love that I sometimes avoid doing homework or house chores 
by first reading some article on the internet. 

I am choosing today to limit my internet use. I am choosing to be present. 
Specifically from this list, I am going to check my emails only once a day. 
I am going to post things that only uplift and inspire. 
I am going to limit and schedule the time that I spend on the internet. 
I am going to get on the internet with a specific purpose and get off once I have done what I had decided to do. I am going to turn off the music in my car and instead enjoy the beauty around me 
and ponder during my drive home. I will take breaks from homework with uplifting activities 
instead of mindless internet surfing: playing a quick song on the piano, walking outside for a couple of minutes, stretching, etc. (This one is really major for me. With all of my classes being online right now, I use a lot of internet, and it has been easy to make my breaks online breaks. I really want to get away from the internet in those breaks, give my eyes a rest, and then be able to get back to work).
 I will still use social media to connect with family and friends who are far away, 
but choose to make memories with those close by. 

What do you do to control internet use?
 I would love to hear your ideas!


  1. I love that you are doing this and I completely agree. I felt a little tickle in my heart when I read this list. I definitely do some of those things and I remember thinking a long time ago that I didn't want to be that person.
    To limit use, I plan things. Outings, get togethers, anything I want or need to do and make sure that my focus is on studying or cleaning or whatever and that those tasks are accomplished before I can go. Scheduling my time to be out and active is my 'treat' for completing tasks.

    1. You are so right, Suzette! Planning is key. If I plan to get a certain assignment done and then get off the computer, I am good. But if I just say I'm going to do school work, I often get distracted! Also a great idea to let outings be a reward! Often I choose to go out and then do my work, but then never get the work done. I can do both if I plan well. You are the best!


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