When to unplug?


A recent Religion News Service article explored the challenges of living in the well-connected world of instant communication. No one denies the benefits, but new challenges must be faced as well.

Trying to find the right balance between constant, easy access and near-obsession is an issue of consideration for me, both personally and as a parent. When do you simply turn off the phone and shut down the computer? (Or insist that all of the communication devices used by your offspring be put in a common holding place until the next day?)

According to the article, Margot Starbuck, a Presbyterian minister and mother of three, confessed: “If I’m not at my computer, I’m wondering what I’m missing.” So she is taking Sundays off now, what she calls an “Unplugged Sabbath.” The benefits are numerous, she said.

As with so many aspects of life, Peggy Kendall, associate professor of communication studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., who has researched the impact of technology on society, said balance is the key. Having scheduled “fasts” from constant connections can serve us well.

To that end, I’m unplugging for much of the week of Thanksgiving — and doing so with gratitude for my online readers and friends, and for Tony Cartledge who will continue to blog in my absence.

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