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The #TechTimeOut Challenge

Technology has taken over, and it is a very different world we live in now! 

I am lucky to be able to work full time from home, on my laptop, and with the help of my smart-phone, which is (or was) a big part of my life; sitting eating dinner, my phone would 'ping' and I would subconsciously reach out to read the notification, to make sure nothing urgent to do with work, but why? Is this really okay? to be around family or friends, eating dinner, or maybe just chatting, and for me to have one eye on them and one eye on my smart-phone. I wanted this to stop, I wanted this to change - I want to put my smart-phone away and not worry about work outside work hours and spend those valuable minutes with family and friends.

So when I heard about #TechTimeOut, I thought yes, perfect for us - a better me, a better us, a better togetherness. Started by Foresters #TechTimeOut is an iniative to encourage you and your family to put away their smart-phones, tablets, consoles for a certain period of time each day, and this was the perfect time to implement a iPhone/iPad free zone, for a small period of time each day. A great way to connect and win back your evenings/dinner time with each other.

What I changed - I removed my work emails from my iPhone, so I don't receive my work emails to my personal phone anymore, thus no notifications 'pings', and no urgency to read an email - it can wait until during my working hours.  This may seem a small step, but for me it is a big one, it allows me to control my work time within my work hours.  Less reliance on my phone and more time with family and friends. Most importantly it allowed me to put my smart-phone away and to leave it. Out of sight, out of mind!

The familyHubby still has a very old Nokia 6500 (not a smartphone) mobile, and he is happy with that. It calls and it texts, that is all he needs, he says.  He doesn't want a smartphone.  

However, with our three sons, who all each love electronics; they are glued to their iPads, iPhones, or playing on the Xbox's, we can loose our boys for hours at a time as they immerse themselves fully into the digital world. Whilst eating dinner, iPhones are close to their sides, eating with one hand, scrolling through with the other hand.

For me it was a little easier, as explained above the first step was to get rid of anything work wise off my smartphone, and then the rest I just put my smartphone away in the prison cell - locked away.  For the boys, to be honest it was a little harder, Lewis was up for it, he didn't mind, but Liam was not too pleased. Without their gadgets, not only did we spend more time together, sitting, chatting and laughing, I also noticed that Liam especially read books more. But overall it is a positive thing, a more relaxed and connected experience, and I recommend you try it too.

Take Action:
So why don't you take the pledge? Visit the TechTimeOut website and join in by adding your name.  A pledge to take a daily tech timeout and to turn off all electronic devices for at least one hour a day for the next week. Visit the website for inspiration, and read other families stories.

- Agree a time for the TechTimeOut each evening - routine and consistency
- Lock up those devices, to take away any temptation
- Agree on an activity to keep you altogether and to spend that valuable time together.

About Foresters
For 140 years, Foresters, an international financial services provider, has fulfilled its purpose to enhance family well-being for its members and the communities where they live. A fraternal benefit society, Foresters offers quality life insurance and investment products, unique member benefits and inspiring community activities. Foresters shares its financial strength with more than one million members in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

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