Unplugging: The Good & The Bad

Last week we were challenged to “unplug”. When I first heard this I was not sure what to think. I had never challenged myself to unplug on my “own” time. I believe I do a pretty good job of unplugging from school when I get home from work. I try not to check email once I leave work or when I track out. Now that I am in graduate school I found out it was even harder to unplug. I decided to create a goal for myself that would help me in the future. I wanted to change something about myself that I would later reflect on and hopefully stick to in the long run.

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My first goal was to unplug during dinner time. I know this sounds terrible that I am not unplugged anyways, but I have a bad habit of scrolling through my phone when I am eating dinner at home. Most of the time I am eating dinner while watching a show while I am also scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. I am hardly aware of the food I am eating or engaging in conversation with my friend. To start this challenge I decided to completely shut my phone off. Not having the phone in front of me made this easier and I knew I had to do this in order to succeed. Throughout the week I learned that it was possible for me to eat and enjoy my company. I would now like my goal to be to eat dinner not in front of the television. This is another step towards completely unplugging.

My other goal was to unplug an hour before I went to bed and to not be on my phone in the morning before work. This was also easier said than done. I can honestly say that I stuck to this commitment more before bed time than in the morning. I grabbed a book I had been wanting to read for awhile and forced myself to put my phone away and read a book before bed instead of mindless phone scrolling. The hardest part of this challenge came for me in the morning. I would make it until I would sit down to eat breakfast and itch to look at what was going on in the world for the day. This made me realize that I need to be more aware of my phone usage. Why did I feel the need to check social media? Why couldn’t I read in the morning while I ate breakfast? What was so important that I could not just use my phone as an alarm in the morning? Reflecting on this process showed me how unaware of these things I actually am.

Reflecting on unplugging has also brought an interesting topic to my mind about how I can challenge my students to unplug. Many of my students use their devices on a daily basis to play games, listen to music, to watch youtube videos, etc. What would happen if I taught my students about unplugging? How can I help them to be more mindful of the time they spend using technology? I could also teach them the difference of using technology for a purpose and using technology to fill a “void”. If I was not aware of these questions in my own life then maybe my students are not aware of them either. This challenge has changed the way I now spend my time at night and how I can challenge my students in the future.

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