happy-kid

Time to Send Our Kids to Detox?

Technology/Social Media //

“Mom, put down your phone!”

I know, sounds strange doesn’t it! On occasion however, I hear it from my 17 year old, and it makes my heart leap with gladness (after the annoyance goes away.) I am so glad my daughter understands the significance of face to face conversation.  It’s not common that a mom will know more about tech stuff then her kids, but in my house, that is true – for now. However, that also makes me painfully aware of how easily I fall victim to the digital deluge.
Sadly, reports and statistics are coming out in overwhelming numbers to reveal a trend that poses a threat to a generations mental health.We are becoming addicted to the digital update.
We are:
  • communicating but not connecting
  • more knowledgeable and less wise
  • globally informed and globally burdened
  • stimulated but not satisfied
  • demanding of what we want, but undisciplined to see it through
  • aware but unfocused
  • savvy but manipulated
  • able to access more then any other generation yet we lack the capacity to truly utilize it.
Camp counsellors, school teachers and leaders everywhere are beginning to realize that if they want to do anything truly meaningful for kids and young people these days they must FIRST do a digital detox.

I became painfully aware of my own issues in this area last summer.  Steve and I took a holiday to a small cabin about 2 hours from our home.  I had just been through a very stressing season, and I realized I didn’t know how to rest well. So I took the book Rest of God by Mark Buchannan and purposed in my heart to figure this issue out!  I knew leaving that one of the things God wanted me to do was leave the internet at home.  No Facebook, no Twitter, no Pinterest, no texting (except to my kids) and no browsing.

It took me 3 days – YES, 3 DAYS – to kill the impulse to check my phone.
I was afraid I would be bored, and for the first day or so I was. I thought for sure I was missing out on big important news flashes by not getting my daily dose of tweets. Day 3 arrived however, and I took stock of my mental energy and frame of mind and I noticed some interesting things:
  • I was less anxious – the burdens of the world were more distant
  • I was more positive – I began to have time to see my real life and draw enjoyment from real things like sunsets and good conversations over dinner and a glass of wine.
  • I compared myself less – I noticed when I wasn’t confronted with the best of everyone else’s world, I suddenly felt better about my own.
  • I was more calm – this was significant – the frantic pace of my brain began to easy, I felt less edgy
  • I was happier – I began to enjoy more moments, and spent less time numbly flicking through endless meaningless information.
  • I felt less cluttered – My own problems and situations came into clearer focus because I wasn’t being bombarded with tons of useless information.
  • I had more mental energy – my creativity returned, my imagination was sparked and I began to dream more about possibilities.
  • My perspective changed – my world became manageable, clearer and simpler – something i could cope with.
  • I was able to focus better – less distractions, clearer thinking
  • I became more compassionate – 100 things weren’t demanding an emotional response, I could give my emotions to the situations and people that truly meant something to me.
I could go on, but the truth is – the DETOX isn’t just a necessity for kids – it’s a necessity for all of us.  I try now to book time periods when I “go dark” – no social media interaction – in order to reclaim some mental territory for myself – intentionally filling it with things that bring strength instead of things that numb me. I say I try – because it is a habit I am still working to rebuild. In fact, the lesson about the significance of this lesson learned last summer crept back up on me and I realized how easily I had gone back to my old ways.
How can we give ourselves, our kids and our families the gift of detox? Are we willing to go through withdrawal in order to get to a place of greater peace and clarity in our hearts and minds? Are we willing to put up with the arguing and whining for the sake of what could save their sanity one day? Are we willing to model it ourselves?  I dare you, go one hour – no phone no social media! How about a day? Or two days?
For me it took 3 days to slow down and kill the impulse of checking my phone before I came to a place where I could truly enjoy God, without feeling driven or anxious about what I was missing, or not doing. I am hungry to have that space more often. How about you? Is it time for  Digital Detox?For ideas on how to do this – watch this quick video:

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About the Author

Nicki's passion and energy are contagious as she brings over 20 years of kids ministry experience to the table. From humble beginnings working with travelling clown and drama teams as a young teen, Nicki has worked with kids and youth in nearly every context. She has been instrumental in the introduction of KidLead to Canada, and regularly runs clubs, trains leaders and trains trainers to develop young leaders nationwide. Nicki believes that kids in ministry become adults in ministry and believes her destiny lies in helping kids young and old understand and walk in the revelation of who they are in Christ. She is a curriculum writer and program developer with a heart to teach kids how to think and live their lives with Kingdom perspective and Holy Spirit anointing. She is currently the children's pastor at Freedom House in Brantford, Ontario where she hosts her own kids club the L.A.F.F Academy. She is a regular contributing writer for www.kidology.org and a Lead Trainer for KidLead. She lives with her husband and two beautiful children in Brantford, City of God!