if you want people to unplug, why are you on the internet & social media?
We get that all the time! First and foremost Folk Rebellion is not anti-tech. No Luddites here! Though sometimes I wish I had a cute donkey and a home off the grid in Hawaii. We practice 'mindful tech' meaning we use it but set important boundaries and balance around it. For example: what types, how much, when, and where.
I discovered that the best way to get people to change a habit is to get after them where they are. It's wonderful to attend a retreat or take a vacation where you unplug. I do it all often. But what I found was a few days or weeks back in the real world and all my old habits were back. What I needed were constant reminders or friendly elbow nudges. I started to see improvements that way. So, thats what we do with Folk. Our Insta is used to break up your news feed, Facebook to share our articles with important unplugging info, and Twitter to connect with other like minded individuals. Our site is our community. The plan is to have a paper magazine soon as well! And if you like snail mail you can sign up here.
what is 'mindful tech'?
Mindful tech (or technology) is a practice. It's you controlling your technology, not it controlling you. It's making conscious choices about how, when, and where you use it. The technology in all its glory and distractions is here to stay. We believe that if we set controls, parameters, guidelines, and warnings to it then the tech will be used in the way it was intended.
how do you manage your use of it all running a business?
There's so many options on how you can make the tech work for you, as we are all different. For some ideas you can read more here. Personally, I live and die by batching, set expectations on email communications (my email signature is pasted below), only use social media on my computer - 30 minutes total per day, and don't use an iPad ever (or my son). This is what helps me. Its not always perfect but its better.
We try and practice what we preach here at Folk Rebellion. Due to our goals to live and work more in real-life (away from the computer) we check email at key times throughout the day. Sometimes less. If it’s truly urgent (cannot wait a day), please call my cell at XXX. Thank you for waiting until I can get back to the inbox.
Mon-Fri: 10am, 1pm, 4pm
Sat & Sun: Never
Take it Easy (and offline),
Do you let your son use tech?
Ah parenting and tech. It's so convoluted. Yes, I am trying to follow the guidelines recommended by pediatricians, scientists, psychologists, and some pretty smart folks I have the pleasure of knowing. For the more curious, here's what Steve Jobs take was. My son is almost 4 now. He goes to pre-k every day. They paint, color, run, jump, wrestle, go outside when it's cold, fight over cars, etc. It's what I would call the typical childhood. We let him have an iPad for about a week when he was two and a half. What my husband and I noticed was that he became not the kid we knew. He threw his very first tempertantrum, he wouldn't go to sleep easily, he wasn't as chatty, he was in a hurry to get inside. The drastic change so quickly all connected back to the iPad for us and we agreed to toss it. Yes, there are times. I drive 4 hours to visit family and that last hour is BRUTAL. Lightning McQueen gets me through. Flights? I try, god how I try to make it but visiting this fox in Hawaii and I feel like there is no other way to make it there.
We have some simple rules we try and uphold.
- iPad is for watching only and only when needed (sometimes is 7am with a hangover).
- iPad has no games, no reading apps, just watching. We do have a painting app we use for flights in case of emergency.
- No phones. He is not allowed to touch them unless its a phone call with someone or FaceTime with a grandparent. We got a house line and we prefer him to use that
- TV or "shows" as he calls them - 1 in the am while we all get ready and 1 at night. Yes, when he is sick it's like 48 hour straight.
- Movie night is a special occasion where we have popcorn and sit together facing 1 screen.
Does this work all the time? NO. DO we try our damnedest? YES. Do we disagree as husband and wife from time to time? YES.
are you afraid your kid is gonna be the weird kid at school?
Yes, all the time. Though, I have yet to find a school that doesn't use iPads in the 1st grade. If you know of one in the NY area please let me know!
won't he be "behind" all the other kids?
No. Studies have shown that kids who adopt technology later in life catch up rather quickly. My hope is to introduce it as a tool for him to learn and work on when his brain has developed to a certain point and more importantly he has learned to have a love of other things.
so he won't be a coder I take it?
He can be whatever he wants! But no, I won't be sending him to any camps to give him a competitive advantage :)
what makes you an authority on unplugging?
I consider myself more of an activist for the "real-life" movement. But, I often turn to this quote by Marianne Williamson when asked this:
"It is not our credentials but our commitment to a higher purpose that creates effectiveness in the world. Our power doesn't lie in our resume or connections. Our power lies in our clarity on why we're here on Earth. We'll be important players if we think that way. And the important players in the coming years will be the people who contribute to the healing of the world."
But as far as credentials go I am a recovering digital addict, 10+ years career in tech, digital strategist, a parent, a member of the last generation to have a childhood without tech, and voracious reader with a vast network of really smart folks at my side helping Folk Rebellion every step of the way.