A few weeks ago, I sat down at my computer to do some routine end of the day work (read mindless gaping at dailymail stories, twitter feed, freelance opportunities, etc.) And I realised that my Wifi Internet connection was not working.
I toddled over to the landline to check, only to realise that the dial tone was gone (almost the only time I check a ‘dial tone’ these days is when it is dead!) . Then I ambled back to my desk and fiddled with the mobile data card – and the Internet spluttered back to life – and within five minutes of that happening I witnessed a complete annihilation of my ‘Documents’ folder – yes each and every file that I had saved on my computer over the course of two years just vanished in front of my eyes!
And more was to come, within a few hours my phone was demoted to just being a phone (as opposed to a smart phone) because of a 3G outage or something.
The next morning I woke up to a huge big void. There was nothing to do! Or rather there was nothing to tap-tap-tap on, nothing to hold in front of me as a distraction, nothing to make me feel one step removed from the very real world – which was still busily throbbing away, oblivious to my technological limbless-ness.
Sure, I had a thousand other things to do which surprisingly did not demand a ready access to Google or whats-app but I still felt pretty helpless. And then I realised there just was so much TIME!
I got through the stack of magazines which had been lying around for several days, waiting to be read. Books became my next tactile defence – I carried one around for the next few days. I restarted going for my walks in the evening while my daughter played (instead of ‘using’ the time to work/read online). I got to feel the sunset on my face instead of through the window!
Last week, I realised that there was actually a movement called the ‘screen free week’ happening – which seemed to focus on doing exactly what I had been elbow wrenched into doing! A week free of screens and other technological interfaces. Too much of a challenge?
As someone who has just walked out of a screen free week, let me assure you that after the initial withdrawal symptoms subside – all will be well and you (and your child) will feel refreshed and ready for more of the same! So, are you ready to take up this challenge? (especially during the minefield time of summer vacations!)
Here is a website to help you get started out: www.commercialfreechildhood.
Nidhi Dorairaj Bruce is a Freelance writer from Mumbai who also manages a parenting website : thechildrensdaily.net . With no formal education in Parenting, she has been getting on-the-job training ever since her daughter, affectionately referred to as ‘the kidlet’, arrived on the scene 5 years ago. You can connect with Nidhi @typewritermom , nidhibruce.com