I recently read a post from someone I follow on Twitter. He’s a district K-12 technology specialist, and well recognized and admired in the Twitter world. A recent post on his blog was titled, “Digital Cleansing” . Steven literally went on vacation with no access to the tech world. Granted, he had a cell phone, but only for emergencies.
I was intrigued. I couldn’t imagine going anywhere without my Iphone or Ipad. After all, I’m responsible for keeping a lot of people up to date with what’s going on in the world of technology; whether it’s developing online courses, presenting workshops, passing along great websites, sharing my Twitter resources, or simply being available to answer a question or two from a colleague who happens to trust my expertise. I couldn’t imagine “unplugging” for seven days. Could I do it? Would I do it?
I tried. I really did.
But what if the people you are on vacation with DON’T want to unplug? I have to say I was a bit saddened by what I experienced. Now, I’m not going to sit here and duplicate all the thoughts and insights that my Twitter colleague shared. I’d recommend reading his post. No, what I’m more interested in sharing with you is what I experienced by trying to unplug …when you’re vacationing with a 13 year-old grandson “texting maniac”, a 35 year old daughter “Facebook” and “Four Square” fanatic and a 59 year old “Ipad for EVERYTHING” spouse.
We went to the beach for 5 days. This place is an island. There’s no shopping, no malls, no restaurant chains. Nothing. You eat, sleep, swim, and get back to the basics of good ole family vacation time. Clark W. Griswold would have been proud of our choice of location.
I packed the sunscreen, floats, towels, a few magazines, my Ipad (Only to read my book) and the faithful Hargrove family fun time games of Monopoly and Seinfeld Trivia. I created my phone “away” messages, my email “out of office assistant” messages and was excited about the trip.
We arrived and unpacked. I was ready to jump in the pool. That’s when it started. We couldn’t go to the pool without both my daughter and grandson first “checking in” to the house we rented so they could race to see who would become the “Mayor” of the place. Then, they had to “check in” to the pool, the beach, and so on. It was NUTS! And what’s the purpose? My grandson even became the “Mayor” of the kitchen, for goodness sake. We insisted he stop when he announced he was working on becoming the “Mayor” of the bathroom! Those two could not be without their cell phones for longer than an hour. Thank goodness there was water around. Between those two posting pictures to Facebook and texting, I felt like I was on vacation by myself.
I kept thinking, what’s happening to my family? How did this get so far out of control?
Thank goodness my grandson still loves to play board games. Except we were the only two playing. Ipads, cell phones and CNBC took first precedent for the other two members of the family.
We broke out the family favorite: Monopoly. And by the way, I STILL think Monopoly is a great strategic game for kids. I’m ALL for family game night. Did you know that they apparently have a new version of Monopoly that uses a debit card instead of Monopoly money? What’s THAT about? So now, we don’t teach kids how to count and sort money? That’s just great. First, the use of electronics to communicate forces schools to consider removing cursive writing from the curriculum. Now learning games are electronic? Is that REALLY healthy?
I don’t know. We had a great time at the beach though. We rode the golf cart around the island, took pictures of the sunsets and walked on the beach. We played Volleyball in the pool, dove in the ocean for sand dollars, and looked for sharks teeth. Those are the times I will cherish. Those are the times that we WERE unplugged, and it felt great.
So here I sit;my first day back, 256 emails, including the one reminding me about this guest blog.
So I while I was supposed to write about Technology and Literacy or What’s New with Florida TechNet, I hope you’ll understand that I first needed to share my family vacation with you. I wanted you to know that even someone who KNOWS about the responsibilities of being a good Digital citizen struggles to keep balance in her own world.
And while I encourage and promote Social Media and the use of technology for learning and growing, I also want to remind you to NOT get so involved in this sterile way of communicating that you forget what’s important in your life. I’ve promised myself to keep the balance. I hope you do to.
By the way, my grandson beat me 2 games out of 3. Moral of the story: ALWAYS BUY THE RAILROADS!