Today's children spend an average of 15 hours a week watching television, playing video games, and surfing the Internet. Is there any wonder why childhood obesity has risen at alarming rates? Laptops, PDAs, pagers, cell phones...the technological devices that were supposed to make our lives simpler are taking away our lives. We're working harder to keep up with our own inventions. The "always available" nature of technology wreaks havoc in some people's personal lives. The price of being available 24-7 is the loss of time for loved ones, reflection, relaxation, and spiritual growth. It's time we asserted control over technology and used it to enhance our lives, rather than robbing our lives of sacred time.
Limit your television watching. When I was a child, I was allowed to watch two hours of television each week. When the Sunday TV Guide came in the newspaper, I would plan my shows for the week. My two brothers and I couldn't flip in between the channels, because we might chance upon a "forbidden" show. So I grew up on Little House on the Prairie and The Wonderful World of Disney.
I didn't grow up watching television, and I don't watch it as an adult. When I married John, I thought he watched an inordinate amount of television. It soon became as issue, and I asked him to go on a "TV diet." He turned off the cable for one month. Today he will tell you it was the best thing he ever did. He broke his addiction to TV and created time to dedicate to his hobbies. Did I say addiction? How many hours would someone have to devote to gambling or drinking before you'd label it an addiction?
I'm not suggesting you rid yourself of all television. If you feel particularly rested, motivated, educated, or inspired after watching a particular show, fine. Otherwise, find something else to do! Think of all the times you complain about having so much to do. TV has a way of robbing you of quality time to accomplish the things that really matter to you.
Limit your web surfing. Ever sit down to look something up on the web and later look up at the clock, only to discover that you just spent three hours surfing in cyberspace? Mindlessly surfing the web not only wastes time, but also brings you lots of information that is of little use to you. Go to the web with a specific purpose in mind, focus on the task, and skip the rest.
Limit your use of the computer for entertainment purposes. Instead of playing a game that returns no measurable result, think of something "fun" but useful to do. I used to have a card box full of stained and mismatched recipes and magazine clippings. So I decided to type them up and save them as a "cookbook" to give to my family for the holidays. I created a numbered table of contents with different categories, just like a cookbook: appetizers, casseroles, main dishes, etc. I created a file folder named "Recipes" and created a separate document for each type of food. I put the printouts in plastic page protectors and filed them in a three-ring binder behind the appropriate tabbed section. It was a hit with my family, because I'd gathered all the old family favorites. Now any time a recipe is stained or I want to send a copy to a friend, I print it out. Or you can learn new software applications, put your budget on the computer, start a family website, or create digital photo albums.