Unplugging And Living Differently; Advice or Suggestions?

Boreal

Puritan Board Freshman
I want to stop most of my screen-based technology usage, replacing it with with things more conducive to human flourishing. Reading, meditating, note taking/journal keeping, gardening, music listening, building, etc.

Im looking for general tips and suggestions to help.

Any practical ways to keep the screens off? How to raise children in a more word-based (as opposed to image-based) home when everything around us is the opposite? How to keep good notes of books read? How to fit Bible, theological, and other reading into a life already busy with small children? How to develop family traditions? How to de-clutter? How to build a legacy, both spiritual and material?

I’m open to it all.

Thank you.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.. :pray2:
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
I don't have much time to type, but I commend you. I have gone back and forth with this for a while. I always think about it. I have found that a healthy balance is key in our family. I see how technology is a great blessing in our home. We just bought a Nintendo Switch, wow has that been a joy and a blessing for our kids' development. Our kids are also very good visionary learners.

But at the same time we balance everything. We play sports, read, go to the beach, etc.

That's just how our family does it, and I thought I'd share that perspective. It's all about balance for us, enjoying all that God has blessed us with.

Prioritizing is also very important. Devoting yourself to the things you see as most important, and giving up the rest.

I wish you the best!
 

Hawaiian Puritan

Puritan Board Freshman
Ever since the pandemic began I have become more and more sick of the internet, social media and the rest. Part of it is being trapped inside for months with nothing else to do. And every day searching for how bad the pandemic was going to be. Not to mention all the horrible stuff on politics. Now that it seems the pandemic is finally coming to an end, I look at the internet and everything related to it as one big unhealthy binge where I am now suffering the hangover. I half want to just pitch my computer in the garbage, but now we're even more dependent on it, with my church doing virtual services for many months, and even now you have to first reserve a place using your phone if you want to attend in person since it has very limited allowed attendance due to Covid.

I think our churches should preach more on the dangers of screens and how they are a distraction both from real life and from God.
 
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J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Sophomore
I want to stop most of my screen-based technology usage, replacing it with with things more conducive to human flourishing. Reading, meditating, note taking/journal keeping, gardening, music listening, building, etc.

Im looking for general tips and suggestions to help.

Any practical ways to keep the screens off? How to raise children in a more word-based (as opposed to image-based) home when everything around us is the opposite? How to keep good notes of books read? How to fit Bible, theological, and other reading into a life already busy with small children? How to develop family traditions? How to de-clutter? How to build a legacy, both spiritual and material?

I’m open to it all.

Thank you.
What a great thing to strive for! I need to take the advice I'm about to give, but I would start by getting rid of your smartphone if you have one. I got a Light Phone II and have really enjoyed that freedom. Limiting the other mobile electronic devices (outside of dedicated e-readers) is beneficial. If you can swing it, keep only a desktop computer. That way, you have to deliberately go into that room to use it. And set timers for yourself (like 20 minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening). Read to your kids and read as a family. Go through a book together. Catechize your kids day in and day out. The world is already attempting to do so. Daily Bible reading and family worship is a must. These become traditions (in the sense of habits a family carry out in the ebb and flow of their lives) that will be deeply important to you and your family.

As for decluttering - I'm not sure what to tell you there. It's happened pretty naturally with having moved my family recently. You learn to let things go to the donation bin or, last choice, in the dumpster.

Here's what I try to do as a schedule for my family. I try to be finished with whatever work or seminary stuff by 4-4:30pm. During dinner together at around 5:30ish after I've unwound from the day, we catch up and do catechism and some Bible time or family worship. Perhaps there's a walk afterwards. After that, we have dedicated days with certain activities. Mondays are movie or TV time. Pick something wholesome and/or sparks conversation and learning moments. If you really want to eliminate TV, pick something else for that day. Tuesdays are game night (board games, card games, or something of the like). Wednesdays are when I try to read short stories, poetry, and prose. Christian biographies are also great. Thursdays are for when there's stuff left unfinished from the other nights. And so on.

I hope this helps. As I said, I try to do these things consistently. May God strengthen both of us and establish the work of our hands!
 

Osnah

Puritan Board Freshman
The best start to getting away from screen time is to not have social media accounts. I personally don't have FB, Instagram, etc. However, I am amazed at just how much time people spend on FB each day. It truly is an addiction. Because I do not have any social media accounts I only use my phone for texting and reading emails for work issues.

I consider myself a 'gamer' and love video games. However, over the past year I have not played much at all. There are times when I will try to fit in a game here and there, but I have been pretty disciplined at resisting it. At the end of the day, I generally don't have too much time or energy to invest in playing my game systems. If I do, I generally reach for my Gameboy and play a quick game of Tetris or something that isn't too time consuming.

A great way to 'build a legacy' is looking into using and keeping a journal as you study the Bible. I do something similar to Jonathan Edwards' "Miscellanies" as I study. Through the process of writing down things that I learn in a journal, I have developed an appreciation for writing in general. I find myself buying notebooks and pens quite frequently because I just enjoy writing. Writing is a great way to get away from screens.
 

mgkortus

Puritan Board Freshman
If your work requires the use of a computer, I recommend the Freedom App. It prevents access to the internet for set periods of time so that you can work from your computer without being tempted to explore the internet.

I also recommend reading The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. That book was influential for more in seeing the importance of unplugging, as you put it. I believe it will help you maintain this new found conviction, that is, help prevent you from going back to your previous ways.

Regarding cell phones, put them out of reach. If I have my phone in my pocket or on my desk I am tempted to reach for it. Therefore, I usually put it on a shelf in my study and have even trained myself to just leave it there even when I hear text messages come through.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
Staff member
Reading, meditating

Go through a book together.

Daily Bible reading and family worship is a must.
Friend, many have given very helpful advice, so I'll just add one point. Reformation Heritage Books recently reprinted a classic Puritan work "Solitude improved by Divine meditation". I mention this because it is a classic work. In particular it is very helpful on how do you use your spare time? The back cover reads "The premise of the book is that Christians should never waste time when they are alone, for they could use that time meditating on God". Highly recommended!
 

Boreal

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you all. I’m in the middle of some very busy times at home as we are selling our house, so I haven’t yet been able to read through this.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
I bought an app for my smartphone, which blocks any apps that you want it to block.

I blocked the internet, social media, and the google playstore. Only my wife knows the password so I can't change the settings. It has essentially turned my smart phone into a dumb phone and cut down on my screen time.

Other things I would advise: consider moving the TV to a room that is not the family room/living room. Also, get rid of tablets, and try to have a desktop instead of a laptop.
 

Gwallard

Puritan Board Freshman
I bought an app for my smartphone, which blocks any apps that you want it to block.

I blocked the internet, social media, and the google playstore. Only my wife knows the password so I can't change the settings. It has essentially turned my smart phone into a dumb phone and cut down on my screen time.

Other things I would advise: consider moving the TV to a room that is not the family room/living room. Also, get rid of tablets, and try to have a desktop instead of a laptop.
What is that app, brother? And does it allow for periods of activity? I will need some periods for my work.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Once I used all my data and the bill skyrocketed (it was this month actually...) So I learned my lesson to disconnect, especially my phone, the hard way.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
What is that app, brother? And does it allow for periods of activity? I will need some periods for my work.
It's called "Stay Focused". I believe it cost me $6.50 CDN for the full customizable version. You can certain apps for certain times of certain days, or based on number of times the app is opened, etc. It's very customizable.
 

Timmay

Puritan Board Freshman
What is that app, brother? And does it allow for periods of activity? I will need some periods for my work.

You can do this with iPhones with screen time. You can hand off the password to another person and lock down apps, even set time limits.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Gwallard

Puritan Board Freshman
It's called "Stay Focused". I believe it cost me $6.50 CDN for the full customizable version. You can certain apps for certain times of certain days, or based on number of times the app is opened, etc. It's very customizable.
You can do this with iPhones with screen time. You can hand off the password to another person and lock down apps, even set time limits.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Thank you, brothers! I just bought the app plus the pro version of it ($7.99 USA). I have a Moto G Power with android and it does the jobs I need it to do very well, but as it's android it seems I need the app. Pretty spiffy app, regardless!
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thank you, brothers! I just bought the app plus the pro version of it ($7.99 USA). I have a Moto G Power with android and it does the jobs I need it to do very well, but as it's android it seems I need the app. Pretty spiffy app, regardless!
Glad I could help!
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thank you all. I’m in the middle of some very busy times at home as we are selling our house, so I haven’t yet been able to read through this.
Perfect! You can declutter like crazy for your move. Just make sure not to re-clutter your next home. ;)
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I've recently dealt with drastically reducing my screen time for no other reason that it is a waste of time I should have been using for fruitful pursuits. Shortly after the new year I stopped perusing Facebook. It had become almost an addiction. Than there is the news. I pay for two subscriptions, one to Washington Times, the other National Review. Those and Fox News. I still access them daily, but I don't spend much time with them.
I found I felt relief when I gave up most of social media, and much of the news reading.

I have a large library and much of it is not yet read. I gave up watching TV and films in 2010 to use the time wasted on those for reading the Bible, the Puritans, and theological tomes.
That worked well enough but in recent years I found myself sucked into the vortex of the internet and had been neglecting my reading. I made up my mind to drastically reduce my screen time and it really wasn't that difficult once I began replacing the screen with the printed page, whether hard copy or Kindle.

It is a matter of breaking a habit. Sometimes not easy, but there is no temptation taken you but such is as common to man, but God is faithful, and will with the temptation make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Of course I'm a single individual and have no family to complicate my resolve. Your situation is complicated by the others in the household. I wish you well in your endeavor. It will be rewarding if you can replace the screen time with searching the Scriptures and such.
 

Miss Marple

Puritan Board Junior
Set times for internet access for all (you and your wife have the password presumably. Important for emergency in my opinion).

Change the password daily.

Post the password at the appropriate time (say 3-5 pm internet access allowed if chores/school done).

Also, parental controls on content!! Covenant Eyes or similar.
 
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