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April 15th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

23 comments (+ Add)

Technology Boundaries

I believe one of the biggest distractions for today’s families is an overemphasis and reliance on tech toys.

If you can’t eat dinner with your family without checking your blackberry or twittering, you have a serious problem.

I’m convinced one of the most important things we can do is set boundaries from technology.

Some things you might try:

  • No tech interruptions during family time.
  • Take consistent blogging or twittering vacations. (Guest blogs work great.)
  • Fast from email on vacations.
  • No surfing the net in the evenings.

Please describe your struggles. More importantly, I’d like to know what boundaries you’re setting to become more healthy.

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Comments

there are a total of23
  1. Apr 15, 2009 at 6:00 am

    I have three small kids under the age of 4. When it is 5:30PM I turn all the Technology off (twitter, email, laptop) till 7:30PM or 8:00PM until they go to bed. Its hard to be committed to everything and family should not be sacrificed at the alter just because I think I need to answer or be informed. Recently I went on vacation with the family and turned it all off for a couple days. It was a blessing and am glad I did it. http://www.youversion.com/niv/1Cor.6.12 is a great verse to memorize and apply as I think I might need to be connected.

  2. Apr 15, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Technology to me is like anything besides God himself…Too much of (fill in the blank) in my life simply hurts me…when I first got on facebook I was consumed because I was finding friends that I had not seen in years. I have lived in 5 states so this was exciting for me to find a part of my childhood that was scattered…But God opened my eyes…now, I realize, sure it is nice and fun to reconnect but who I am NOW is really WHO I am and Who I need to work on… so, I check once or twice a week now and let the rest just be…I also blog when God GIVES me the time to blog…I do not consume myself with blog pressure. I love the verse in proverbs 4 (msg) that says …”WATCH your step and the road will stretch out smooth before you”. We have to CHOOSE every step we make wisely.

  3. Apr 15, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Jenn,
    I agree with your comments. Those who blog can fall victim to the standard ‘rules’ of blogging. Like many other things, what began as good becomes an obsession. It’s easy to miss how time consuming they can be. I find that the evenings I enjoy most involve a funny kids book and the whole family laughing. No tv, internet, twitter, etc.

  4. Apr 15, 2009 at 7:02 am

    I took a break from all web 2.0 during lent - no blogging, twittering or FBing (my three addictions). It was amazing. It was really hard to come back. Brain relaxed…and spent way more time in f2f conversations.

  5. Apr 15, 2009 at 7:13 am

    I was finding that blogging was taking up a lot of time. I was almost obsessed with it to the point of putting out posts 3-4 times a day and constantly checking my blogroll. I had to put a stop to it. Google Reader helped with the latter and just saying, “Enough is enough” helped with the former. I don’t do FB at all. I have enough to do plus I was told by my wife that blogging is yours…FB is mine!” :) Besides, I don’t want to mess with the computer when I get home. I want to relax and do something different. We don’t have children at home so I can’t answer to that.

  6. 6Chuck Dennie
    Apr 15, 2009 at 8:12 am

    This is an area where I know God needs to do some work in my life. My phone is always with me and the times I have mentally said I won’t answer that call, I do. I bet I check my email/twitter/facebook every 10 minutes. I know that my relationship with my family suffers because of it. Reading this, and the sabbath blog that was just posted has really opened my eyes. I am going to try fasting from my phone on one of my days off and also try eliminating it in the evenings a couple nights a week. I am thankful for the encouragement to do this
    Craig. I want to guard my time with my family and I need to show them that. Thanks!

  7. Apr 15, 2009 at 8:37 am

    I haven’t made it through a meal in a while without checking my Phone for tweets

  8. Apr 15, 2009 at 8:38 am

    This may be considered extreme by some but we cut out the internet at our house so that there was no possible way for us to be distracted by email, twitter, or facebook (my wife & i both struggle with that addiction!). Also, dinner time is huge at our house, so the phones go to silent. On days off, I let every call that could possibly be ministry related go to voicemail. After checking voicemail (usually during naptime, etc.) I determine whether it’s urgent or not. If not, I wait until I’m in the office to deal with it. No, not everyone likes my approach, but I don’t have to live with them. I the only husband & father for my family. I’m trying to prioritize the place where I’m irreplaceable.

  9. Apr 15, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Good point. But it is hard, I have gotten so engrossed with twitter and blogging, hmmmm.

  10. 10Lex
    Apr 15, 2009 at 9:05 am

    My husband and I have agreed to never have a teevee in our house. Right now we don’t even have an internet connection at home. While it’s irritating at times, we’re also well aware of how easily we both get distracted just “surfing” the web.

  11. 11Kylie in Australia
    Apr 15, 2009 at 9:08 am

    I so agree! The internet, email, twitter, facebook, etc…can all become addictions if we’re not careful. Addictions take the priority in our lives when God is suppose to be our #1, our spouse/family #2, everything else later!

    I felt at one stage God call me to fast all internet, music, TV, etc (Media Fast) unless I couldn’t help it (eg: at the shops where music was playing, media required strictly for work purposes, etc). I did this for 2 weeks and found there was SSSOOOO much more time to spend with God! And where I was addicted before to every time opening my laptop and checking facebook/twitter, I became more intentional in my use of media, rather than just waste time away!

    We should be good stewards of not just our finances, but also our time! Maybe God may challenge you to a fast to focus your priorities right again?

  12. Apr 15, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Good thoughts. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said the great thing about technology is that it has an off button… so in that light I did a day of silence and solitude on Saturday and can say that is was quite refreshing to have the ol iPhone turned off.

  13. 13Dan
    Apr 15, 2009 at 9:15 am

    We just moved to the sticks and had to give up our cell phones (we found a place we verizon does not have coverage - Paulding County OH). It has been a great thing to stay away from the phone. My problem is internet surfing especially when watching TV with my wife (I’d rather put a gun to my temple than watch Dancing with the Stars). I also have a hard time turning off Hulu when I surf.

    So I’m trying to found better disciple.

  14. Apr 15, 2009 at 11:13 am

    uhm…my boundaries?..uhhh…dang. Nothing to give as input here today, just got to take it and repent. My wife loves you a bit more now Craig…thanks for the spanking - I needed it!

  15. Apr 15, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I have only just begun to be very purposeful about finishing my work and surfing and putting my laptop actually in my bag so I’m not tempted to grab it in the evening. We have no computer at home, just the laptops we carry home from church, so I leave it there whenever I can! Really bad to take it home!

  16. Apr 15, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I try doing no “media/technology Sundays!”

    Celebrity Apprentice has been getting me lately though…

  17. 17TJ
    Apr 15, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    My wife and I tend to open up our computers as soon as the kids go to bed. Its hard not to because we haven’t been able to all day with the kids up, work, etc. It definitely has a negative effect on our relationship, though.

  18. Apr 15, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    For me, anytime my family is near the tech is off. No games, no social stuff, no internets. Nothing. The one exception is paying bills online or looking for products that the family needs. Other than that, family is a tech-free zone.

  19. Apr 15, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Uh oh. It’s 9:40pm and I’m leaving a comment. :(

  20. Apr 15, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I have become really aware of the word obsessed recently (thanks to Francis Chan). I’m no longer OK with being obsessed with anything besides God. Whether it’s something with a battery or where the paychecks come from, I am not going allow anything take that place of obsession anymore.

  21. Apr 16, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Being in the IT field, this was a little hard for me. I finally decided that one date night that there would not be any computer usage. This helped a lot. Creating a barrier between family time and tech time has made for a better environment at home.

  22. 22Hunter Mueller
    Aug 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Good Good GOOOOD! I find that I can spend 2hours easy in the evenings on facebook. Here lately I’ve been trying to manage my time better. I think to myself ,”how much closer would my walk with God be if i spent those 2hours in His word or in prayer??” food for the mind. I encourage all to cut their facebook/myspace or whatever time in HALF and take the extra time to read the Bible and pray. (ps. 1 john is a good book!!)

  23. 23James Compton
    Oct 14, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I really believe a vacation from technology is an awesome idea. I feel that I do fairly well, but I find myself leaning on the ‘puter and the web to much for my society. I try to turn off my cellphone when I am not alone or when I am in a public place. I think if someone really wants to talk to me, it won’t be a problem to call them back at a more appropriate time and place. I need to stay away from the internet to keep up with friends and get out or reach out more. Good thoughts!