Online Overdose is Harmful to Our Family

Our epiphany as individuals and as parents has been brewing for some time now – and we finally sat down (offline) and talked about it.  Since we work & volunteer online, use and consume social media, have blogs, etc., we’ve become horrible at unplugging when necessary. No structure.  No boundaries.  Constantly connected, staring at glowing screens, large and small.

The same social media tools that brought so many interesting new people into our lives, are the same tools that are in effect taking time away from family.  Our digital life has been interfering with our analog life, so we needed to refocus on what’s (and who’s) important & make certain we don’t neglect those priorities.

It’s not you.  It’s us!

Many people were ‘un-friended’ (what a horrible word, eh?) from our individual FB accounts, close to 200 between both accounts, but we’re NOT trying to literally lose friends we’ve made in recent years through social media. In other words, it is not an act of war.  Especially the travel bloggers (you know who you are), we are following your pages via our page. 

We realize that the “FB unfriending” thing is NOT the most popular decision.  People’s feelings may have been hurt and perhaps even some misunderstandings.  Truth is, we still want to keep our friendships and association, but, preferably, in-person. Our decision was based on what’s best for our family.

If you find yourself in Chiang Mai (intentionally or otherwise), and see us on the streets, please don’t throw rotten fruit at us.  Please don’t take ‘un-friending’ (really don’t like this word) literally, as there are other means of communication that still exist. Also, neither one of us has ever intentionally ‘blocked’ anyone (only spammers as well as  rude & disrespectful people) on our FB accounts.

We like the fact that we can still maintain FB friendships via groups and pages on FB.

FB has been a real struggle for A in the recent months and reduced her individual FB contacts merely as an attempt to restore her sanity.  It was not an easy process by any means. She is focusing more on her role as a Mother to M and her responsibilities (nearly all online) managing 6 FB pages, 2 FB groups, 5 Twitter accounts and 2 Sparked.com accounts, in addition to assisting with fundraising for one organization, recruiting volunteers for others and raising awareness for these real and important needs.

It is a fact that we are not hosting meet-ups here in Chiang Mai as we did last year.  We are still very much open to meeting existing and new friends in person for delicious food and a good time. Honest!

Here’s one way to look at all  this:  10 years from now, what will matter more? That we made an effort to remain friends in-person whenever possible despite the “unfriended status on FB” or that we remain” unfriended”  in person also?  How will we come out on the other side?  Only time will tell.

It’s sad, but true.  We’ve become undisciplined by not placing limits on our time online, thereby not giving M and ourselves the quality face-to -ace time we need.  We need to unplug and pay attention to the real people around us.

This weekend we managed to stay unplugged long enough to enjoy Chiang Mai, such as spending time at markets, indoor playground with M’s Korean friends, test driving bicycles and keyboards for M, shopping for appliances for the future house, and spent this afternoon at the park, feeding the pigeons.

We (just now) decided NOT to add a photo or cute video of M being mobbed by pigeons, because it will keep us plugged in longer, which means we’re likely to browse FB, tweet a bit, read up on G+ and Google Reader, check email (but not respond because too much is going on) — and it’s 10:30pm on a Sunday night, and we’d like to put away J’s laptop by 11:00pm, so we can get enough rest to take care of important things on Monday.

A few ways to stay connected with us and we sincerely hope that you do:

GotPassport (at) Gmail.com

Our FB Page

Our G+ Page

Photo Credit: CMSWire.com

Message to M: We are sorry for keeping one eye on our glowing screens, and one eye on you, when we should be unplugged, to give you our undivided attention.

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  11 comments for “Online Overdose is Harmful to Our Family

  1. October 10, 2011 at 00:20

    Indeed. g-knows we all sooner or later must take a breath and reassess our analog vs. digital lives. Technology is wondrous and no doubt contributes to (even our social) lives in oh so many ways. But…

    Seriously. Sooner or later, something’s gotta give. We simply can’t juggle it all, without somebody/something (our sanity?) breaking down/growing rusty. I mean, we’re human after all – not robotic computers that can multitask in terabytes 24/7.

    Guess it’s just like so many things in life – best we simply strive to be MINDFUL of the BALANCE of it all in our lives.

    Thus, even as I peck this, I wonder if this 2 minutes couldn’t better be spent sipping analog tea on my analog porch, in the analog sunshine with my analog friend here amid the analog splendor of Seattle. 😉

  2. Mom (A's Mom)
    October 10, 2011 at 01:52

    That is very nice, I am very proud of u guys. Keep it up, and take very good care of my only lovely GRAND DAUGHTER. thanks.MAYGYI.

  3. October 10, 2011 at 07:39

    We are trying to stay offline at least one day a week! It s so time consuming, as we have so much blogs/website pages/ twitter accounts/ gmail email accounts! Its like a domino effect – you log in thinking you could be there for an hour and get off…yet two or three hours goes by!
    Family time is so important, and weekends is where we are now limiting our time online so that we can spend time at the beach, or the markets with each other.

  4. October 11, 2011 at 21:48

    Beautiful sentiments and wonderfully written! Hope to (not) talk to you anytime soon~ enjoy the wide world!

  5. K2
    October 13, 2011 at 04:43

    Hi cuz! I stop in here every once in a while just to see how you guys are doing and have been wondering how you’ve been able to manage all this tech. I, myself, am determined to be the last holdout on FB and have yet to sign up. As it is, little “mimi” (as your mom calls her) already says the word iPod (or “pod” as she likes to call it). It is hard to stay disconnected but is so worth it when you look at their little faces! I hope you guys are well. All the best – K2

  6. October 13, 2011 at 12:06

    This is, in the back of my mind, one of the main reasons I want to move away from Ireland, at least for a while. It’s too easy to use weather as an excuse to stay indoors in front of the computer. I really, really need to be somewhere warmer and easy to move around on foot or bicycle. Getting too sedentary and too cut off.

    Good on ya for unplugging — and thanks for mentioning Sparked.com. I’m going to check it out; perhaps that way the hours indoors will at least count for a little more. 🙂

  7. G
    October 27, 2011 at 01:21

    Totally understandable, and you’re probably the first wave of a bunch more that will follow in the now-“struggle” to unplug! No worries, we’ll all reach that equilibrium eventually. Kudos to you for making what I’m sure was a trying decision especially when it comes to “unfriending.” Best wishes, guys!!

  8. October 27, 2011 at 09:42

    It’s not an easy balance to find, and I’m sure it’s been a process for you guys with all that you do – working, playing, and helping people online. I think this is something a lot of people must struggle with, so you’re not alone! The good thing is that you’ve taken some action with it and are setting boundaries and limits. I know personally, I enjoy my online interactions much more when I feel like I’m in control of it, rather than it being in control of me. But it’s a hard balance to strike!

    See you guys next week!! xo.

  9. December 23, 2011 at 01:28

    You are not alone.

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