This year, resolve to drop the device!

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Allyson Beauregard
Rédacteur / Managing Editor

With the holidays gone, it’s likely that many of us recently became owners of new technological devices like phones, computers, games, wireless home systems like Google Home, activity trackers like Fitbit, etc. 

Allyson Beauregard
Rédacteur / Managing Editor

With the holidays gone, it’s likely that many of us recently became owners of new technological devices like phones, computers, games, wireless home systems like Google Home, activity trackers like Fitbit, etc. 
Technology is marketed as a way to simplify life and boost efficiency, but a report released January 1st by a team of three Canadian professors paints a much different and darker picture. According to “Technoference: A habit parents should ditch during 2019”, the excessive use of mobile devices, dubbed ‘technoference’, is wreaking havoc on children and family dynamics.
It’s something many of us are guilty of more often than we’d like to admit: responding to calls, emails or texts during dinnertime; playing with devices while we attend activities with our children or friends; browsing the internet on vacation; etc … 
“The reality is that technology is ever present in our lives; 98% of families are living in a home with at least one internet-connected device. Parents are using these on average 3.5 hours per day and their children on average 2.5 hours. Almost 47% of families report using mobile phones at the dinner table,” says the study.
As a result, an educational campaign, #devicefreedinner, was launched by Common Sense Media to encourage families to avoid ‘technoference’ during mealtimes and find a healthier balance with technology in their everyday lives. The professors’ tips include: developing a family device plan of when, where and for how long technology can be used; becoming a “tech role model” by setting examples for children about responsible use of devices; creating a device basket where all tech is dropped during certain situations; finding other ways to relieve stress like exercise; and monitoring your habits and making goals to cut usage.
The bottom line is that a lot of time, experiences and moments pass us by that we are not fully present in as time spent with these devices replaces meaningful social and family interactions. Ironically, technology is actually contributing to us losing or missing out on time – the quality kind that really counts. Years down the road, this interference is likely something we’ll regret.  
The dawn of a new year is commonly a time when we reflect on our lives and pledge to make improvements. This year, how about making a commitment
to disconnecting with technology and investing that time in connecting with one another in person more often?