The kids are coming home this weekend after four weeks away, and I can’t wait for their return.
To feel their presence in our home. To listen to their voices as they tell me about their day, or talk to their dad, or talk to each other. To sit on the couch, cuddling and catching up on movies.
I’m even excited to trip over their stuff, complain about the state of their bathroom, and stress about how to keep them busy before we go on vacation.
What I’m not so excited about is watching them reconnect to their digital lives.
There are lots of benefits to overnight camp for both our kids and our children – safe independence for them, a few weeks “off” for us – but the biggest is what I have come to call “the great tech detox.”
Four weeks without electronic devices, except, at most, a Garmin watch and a Kindle paperwhite (without data). Four weeks without Snapchat streaks, stories or selfies. Four weeks without gossip or trending topics. Four weeks without likes, comments or other reactions. Four weeks without Tiktoks, Kiks or whatever other app I should be keeping up with but haven’t.
Four weeks without internet-induced drama.
Let’s be clear, they are still teenagers so I’m sure there was some drama about friends, clothing, whatever. It was just “IRL”.
I’ve consistently failed with any attempt at docking rules, tech restrictions and even consistent monitoring, relying instead on spot checks, ongoing conversations and a healthy amount of trust.
And, so far, that has worked – but to have time where I have not thought once about the time spent on screens, the conversations that may be happening, the people they may be meeting, the story of themselves they may be telling – that has been the best part of these last four weeks.
I’m a little sad it’s almost over for this year.