Has the digital revolution helped us or hurt us? I have a friend right now in Vanuatu (island in the South Pacific) with Peace Corps; she has very little internet access and is living in a situation that involves a generator turning on/off through the day for electricity. No doubt, she is getting a good feel for the ways in which technology has helped/hurt us!
It is easy to get "sucked in" to digital technology in one form or another (TV, computer, internet, video games, etc.). Sometimes, it's easy to see where it is harmful (TV shows or movies with sinful/harmful content, video games that involve tremendous violence, etc.).
What about those more nebulous areas: "surfing" the net to find a better deal on the camera you hope to buy soon, checking out 5 different versions of a chicken pot pie recipe to determine which would be the best, browsing an interesting blog that is providing all kinds of tips and tricks to simplify household living, letting your children watch "The Wiggles," buying items through amazon to save money, scrapbooking, balancing your checkbook via online bank statements, "catching up" with people via facebook, etc.
We can usually justify these types of activities in the general interest of our household. But are they really helping? I've begun trying to evaluate these types of activities, particularly in light of my recent new criterion for children's toys. I think the same can be said of our own activities, especially those of who are wives or mothers: does this activity lend itself to any sort of community experience or is it, by its very nature, limited to a solo participant? Just because an activity might be limited to a solo participant doesn't automatically rule it out; however, it does make me think twice about too much of it during a time of day when I should be spending time with children/husband. I'm trying to limit solo activity (most of the examples above fall into this category; if it's related to the computer/internet, it's usually a solo activity) to kids' naptime and early morning prep time (when no one else is awake). This is not absolute. I check my email throughout the day, pull up a recipe to make dinner from, etc. But I try to save the digital photobook, the search for a new recipe, the blog post to write, the checkbook balancing, and so forth for times when I'm not needed in a relational sense.
This week I'm going to highlight several digital tools that can actually help us manage our time better--particularly when it comes to the internet.
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