Father’s Day: Want to Reconnect? Then Disconnect

The research has been conducted and the verdict is in (though we hardly needed it to tell us) – we’re hopelessly addicted to our digital devices.  So much so, in fact, that some psychologists are pushing to have “Internet Addiction” broadly classified as a clinical disorder.   But isn’t it really affirmation that we can’t get enough of?  We want people to acknowledge us, interact with us, consider our opinions, laugh at our jokes, and take part in our conversations.  And these are all legitimate, natural wants and needs, mind you.  Although we may seek the approval and affirmation of acquaintances, colleagues and classmates less if we received it from our families more.

*65% of North Americans spend more time with their computer than with their spouse.

**45% of workers say they can’t go more than 15 minutes without an interruption.

**50% of people leave their mobile phones on when they go to bed.

**Workers report that they leave their mobile phones on during movies, church & even sex.

Mobile devices, computers and social media are wonderful things, indeed.  They’ve transformed our lives and our world in countless positive ways.  But make no mistake, while we’re more connected than ever (and maybe because we’re more “connected” than ever), we’re more disconnected than ever from our families.

Ever texted your child in his or her room to tell them that dinner is ready?  Are instant messages replacing conversations at the dinner table?  Are you talking to your kids about their “status”? Or, reading about it on Facebook?

Because I’m sure this rings true to more of us than it should, I’m issuing a challenge today to dads across the country.

Disconnect.

That’s right.  On June 19th, Father’s Day, disconnect your digital device for 24 hours and reconnect with your family.

You’ll survive.  I promise.

In fact, I suspect you’ll be shocked at how much that quality time with your family can jolt those dormant relationships.  At how much you can download in a short time.  At how much you’ve been missed.

Here are two simple things you can do to make it happen:

1.  Before going to bed the night before Father’s Day, check your e-mail one final time, turn off your mobile device and put it in another room. You may get the shakes, but you’ll get over it.

2.  Plan the day well.  Alcoholics are very susceptible during periods of boredom and it’s no different with an internet junkie.  Plan a day of special activities with your family, so you’ll be less inclined/tempted to check email or go online.  And, if the family takes you out, leave the mobile device at home!   (You may be shocked, but yes – there was a time in ancient days when we actually left the house without a phone).

Remember – your kids watch your behavior more than they listen to your words.  And when they see you unable to disconnect from email, text messages and Twitter?  You’re telling them that what’s on your phone is more important to you than they are.

So, think about how much time you spend online versus how much time you spend face-to-face with the people you love you the most.  And, at the very least, for 24 hours on Father’s Day, think about which connection is the most important to you:

The one to the world?

Or the one to your family?

 

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 at 1:43 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

37 Responses to “Father’s Day: Want to Reconnect? Then Disconnect”

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  1. Bob B. says:

    I will if you will.  :-)

  2. A word of warning: disconnect, yes, great idea. But don’t expect everyone else to do it, too. Spend the day getting to know what it feels like to want the attention of your child, or spouse, and have to share it with a Blackberry. Frustrated? Feeling dismissed and unimportrant? Get used to it, because that’s what your kids are getting from you, if you bring you’re on your iPhone at the dinner table, or soccer game, or choir concert, or the school play… believe me, your kids know the difference. If you only give your family the smallest possible slice of your attention, you can expect no more than that in return.

    This will be my first Father’s Day without my dad: he passed away last September. I would give anything for one more minute of his time. 

  3. Simon Dillon says:

    Great article.

    As an avid cinema goer I suffer from what I call “cinema rage” (provoked by badly behaved audiences). The number one cause of this are those infernal text messages that pop up in front of me creating light pollution and shattering the feeling of immersion in the film. 

    There is hope though. On one recent occasion a large, bad tempered South African man told a row of teenagers in no uncertain terms that if they didn’t stop texting/answering calls incessantly that it would be the last thing they ever did. He got a round of applause.

    So if you go out to the movies with your family this Father’s Day, I hope you have a large, bad tempered South African man in your audience. Every cinema needs one.

  4. Jweber14 says:

    except I need to use it to say Happy Father’s Day to my dad 2000 miles away!

  5. [...] A new campaign calls parents to disconnect in order to reconnect. [...]

  6. [...] Phil Cooke wonders if we should disconnect to reconnect. [...]

  7. Rev. Dr. Robin J. Dugall says:

    I’m in Phil!  In fact, I’m copying this out and making a flyer for our church bulletin this coming Sunday!  great idea…

  8. [...] Father’s Day 2011, GeekDad is asking you to join with us as a willing participant in the Disconnect to Reconnect Campaign. The event is being promoted by author Phil Cooke, who is challenging dads across the country to [...]

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ever think we do these things because we cant stand our wives, our kids suck and life in general is a pain in the ass?

  10. [...] Father’s Day 2011, GeekDad is asking you to join with us as a willing participant in the Disconnect to Reconnect Campaign. The event is being promoted by author Phil Cooke, who is challenging dads across the country to [...]

  11. Guest says:

    This is a great idea. What’s not a great idea is the “social media sharing” veil that comes down and covers the top 8th of the page as you scroll down, covering the page, and blocking me from reading whatever is underneath the veil. Seriously? Why would you do this??

  12. [...] My friend, Phil Cooke is encouraging Fathers to disconnect on Father’s Day . [...]

  13. Theauditor says:

    Briiliant!  Exactly what I was ranting about during my “Sunday Rant” last week – the ifamily should swith off all igadgets for 24 hours.
    I HATE mobile phones but the iPad is seductive – but who needs all that knowledge?
    I refuse to buy an iPhone or iPad….

  14. Martin Johnson says:

    Phil. Just wondering about kids/Dads who aren’t together and want to call each other on Father’s Day? Are they exempt?
    Martin

    • Phil Cooke says:

      I think we can make an exception….    After all, the point is to really connect, and if you can’t be there in person, technology is the next best thing…   :-)

  15. [...] Would you be willing to unplug from your electronic world for 24 hours this weekend?Below is his original article. Will you accept this challenge to be fully present with your family? Father’s Day: Want to [...]

  16. Juan Carlos Flores says:

    I´d learned the hard way that my bucket is full of busyness and distractions. So to really create room for God and my family I urgently scooped out urgency to reconnect with what really matters and is eternal.

  17. [...] (Read the full article here.) [...]

  18. [...] Phil Cooke has laid down the gauntlet for fathers: this Sunday, take 24 hours and “disconnect to reconnect.” Fathers everywhere are increasingly tied to new technologies like mobile phones, iPads, and gaming equipment. Father’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to focus on the things that build real relationship between fathers and their kids – things like face-to-face conversation or doing something together that doesn’t include an app or a video or television screen. “Remember, your kids watch your behavior more than they listen to your words,” says Cooke. “Think about which connection is more important to you: the one to the world, or the one to your family?” Share: [...]

  19. Keith says:

    Wondering if I could get permission to re-post this on the http://www.mobileadvance.org website?  Our ministry is about the use of mobile phone technology for ministry but we need to promote right attachment/detachment to mobile as well and would love to get this up before father’s day if possible. Reply to keith at mobileadvance.org  Thanks

  20. [...] the orig­i­nal post by Phil Cooke Here Check Out These Other Great Posts:Tips to Mend­ing (or Pre­vent­ing) a Bro­ken FamilyIt All [...]

  21. [...] Father’s Day 2011, GeekDad is asking you to join with us as a willing participant in the Disconnect to Reconnect Campaign. The event is being promoted by author Phil Cooke, who is challenging dads across the country to [...]

  22. [...] apart when abused and that’s what we’ve come to in a big way today. Author Phil Cooke has called for a day where we DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT and I’m all for it. Here’s what [...]

  23. [...] Father’s Day 2011, GeekDad is asking you to join with us as a willing participant in the Disconnect to Reconnect Campaign. The event is being promoted by author Phil Cooke, who is challenging dads across the country to [...]

  24. [...] Author Phil Cooke has a campaign he’s doing called Disconnect to Reconnect, asking dads everywhere to turn off their phones/email/gadgets and spend planned time with their [...]

  25. [...] the same thing. So actions being louder than words and all that, I decided to take part in the Father’s Day Disconnect to Reconnect.  I will be turning off my phone, television, computer, Kindle, game console, and etech-a-sketch [...]

  26. samcorona54 says:

    Yes, an excellent idea for us dad’s. But it really applies to ALL! Nothing more disturbing than family and co-workers calling, text messaging or emailing you from the next room.

  27. [...] Father’s Day, I decided to follow the advice of Phil Cooke and disconnect to reconnect with my family. I decided I can spend 24 hours without the distractions [...]

  28. [...] Day: Disconnect To Reconnect”, this was the catch cry of Phil Cooke back in June (when America has fathers day). On his website, he called for fathers to give up for a [...]

  29. Margelit Hoffman says:

    This seems to be the zeitgeist now. The DaytoDisconnect and Unplug and Connect campaign addresses this beautifully: https://www.daytodisconnect.com/mt-register-quick.php

  30. Ravinder Tulsiani (Parent Central Blog), Ravinder Tulsiani (Parent Advice Centre), Ravinder Tulsiani (Parent Advice Articles)…

    [...]Father’s Day: Want to Reconnect? Then Disconnect « Phil Cooke[...]…

  31. [...] of this year, I decided to take a day off from the internet. I got the idea from Phil Cooke’s Reconnect to Disconnect campaign. Since this was my first father’s day, I figure it was a great time to experiment with [...]

  32. [...] Father’s Day, I decided to follow the advice of Phil Cooke and disconnect to reconnect with my family. I decided I can spend 24 hours without the distractions [...]

  33. […] when I received a challenge from author and media consultant Phil Cooke, asking dads everywhere to disconnect from technology – phones, Facebook, Twitter, email, TV […]

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