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Susan Adcox

A Plug for Being Unplugged

By March 5, 2013

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I recently spent a wonderfully relaxing week on a cruise, and one of the most relaxing things about it was being away from technology. I didn't check my email once. I lived without Facebook and Words With Friends. Whole groups of people were dining and sightseeing and hiking, and no one was dragging their finger across a screen. When my companions and I had a question about something, we were reduced to wondering about it and postulating answers, rather than pulling out a smart phone and receiving immediate gratification.

The moratorium on technology was primarily driven by economic forces. The Internet is available on cruise ships, but on our ship access went for 75 cents a minute. When we were ashore, we didn't want to waste our precious time looking for a library or Internet cafe.

Appropriately, most of the National Day of Unplugging (March 1-2) passed while we were still unplugged. But Wayne Parker, Guide to Fatherhood, featured an excellent article about technology addiction, including a list of warning signs. In other technology news, a UK survey revealed that grandchildren are turning to their gadgets for the answers that they used to get from grandparents. They are more likely to Google how to sew on a button than to ask Grandma or Grandpa. That doesn't disturb me too much. Their smart phones can't drive them to the park, bake cookies with them or share a wild game of Four Square.

There will always be a place for grandparents.

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March 6, 2013 at 8:46 pm
(1) Alyssa says:

I took a cruise in October, and being unplugged was one of the main lures. We didn’t even consider paying the outrageous fees for internet access–being forced to stop thinking about school and work is the very reason we could relax and enjoy the trip.

March 7, 2013 at 8:13 am
(2) Judy @GrandparentsPlus2 says:

Balancing social media and real life is certainly an interesting topic that could be debated from all sides. On days that I’m involved in a project, I give social media and the computer a few minutes. On days when I’m feeling more inclined to relax, I give it more time. But, I refuse to give up “living” for an on-line existence. I think at some point, people will realize how much of their “life” they gave up being on line and how many experiences and fun they missed.

March 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm
(3) Grandma Kc says:

Smart phones and electronic devises also can’t give hugs! The internet can not tell them the wonderful stories of what their parents were like at their age. We grandparents can not be replaced! And I do think unplugging once in a while — like during dinner — is a really good idea!

March 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm
(4) Joyce says:

Susan, I’m so happy you had a chance to get away on such a nice trip!
Techno gadgets in the hands of my daughters drive me nuts! We cannot have a decent conversation without a friend “beeping in,” texting, or posting on FB. Eyes are constantly on those screens! But if I don’t pick up my landline or basic cell the second they call, I get follow-ups demanding, “Where were you? We were sooo worried!” I miss the good old days – or maybe I should go on a cruise that lasts the rest of my life!

March 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm
(5) Nina Lewis says:

A cruise, how fun!! I totally agree with you about being unplugged when traveling internationally. I’d rather be soaking up the sights and enjoying the country than being on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!

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