How long could you go without your smartphone or other devices?
How long could you go without your smartphone or other devices? mactrunk

How to take quality time out

WE HAVE all listened to, or even been a part of, the ongoing commentary about how "young people these days seem to have no regard or respect for anyone other than themselves”.

We have parents constantly battling with their teenagers. There now seems to be a laissez faire approach to teens' behaviour that would have once received a severe reprimand or discipline.

What's happened? Upon reflection, nothing. The same comments were made when my friends and I were growing up.

Current social norms are being challenged by a different generational view, which eventually will mature into accepted normal social behaviour whether we like it or are comfortable with it or not.

Pandora's box has been opened by the advent of the information and technological age, which provides increasing access - perhaps addiction - to streams of communication and information.

What was initially that great babysitter, TV, has become the smartphone, app-rich i-somethings and tablets.

These tools seem attractive to the young and are gifted to them by their increasingly removed, busy, frustrated parents seeking to absolve a lack of genuine connection with gifts.

Is that a little harsh? Go down to your nearest shopping centre and have a look at the numbers of people sitting together locked onto their screens rather than each other.

When this goes to print I will be experiencing the last couple of days of a 10-day Vipassana retreat where I have stepped out of the world for 10 days.

Vipassana is silence. No phone, television, books, conversation - nothing. Only you and time to defrag, unplug, meditate and calm the mind and also to recognise how distracted we are by all of those "smart gadgets” that are far smarter than I am.

Thinking the importance of our communication and time with those we love, what boundaries would you want that will ensure quality and quantity of time is spent helping loved ones understand that love, care, listening, sharing and laughing make us more capable, connected and engaged beings?

Are you caught up in the distractions that technology provides? It's just a suggestion to take a time out - it may give a new perspective on what's important.

Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned:

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