Safe Surfing for Internet Safety Month

unpluggedLast night I had trouble sleeping. Somehow our digital alarm clock went its typical low, soothing glow to a “WAKE UP” Times Square-level neon green. If the door wasn’t shut, the entire house would have woken up. Instead, just the parental units. So, college kids slept just fine and we woke up way too early putting getting our money’s worth out of our Keurig.

Such is the downside of the digital world. Last night just happened. But, have you thought of all the times we walk into those digital booby traps? We sometimes bring our phones and iPads to bed with us. Just the extra glows and buzzes of those can disturb sleep. Many of us sleep with wearable fitness bands. Those beep and buzz all the time. Its no wonder they measure our sleep as “disrupted” and “restless”! During the day, we are surrounded by screens and technology and always pulled in a thousand distracted directions.

So, as we embark upon a new month of internet safety tips, let me share with you one of the biggest, and least talked about tips, unplug and often. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and we have as much as any family. But, we have to all recognize that our gizmos are tools. The more we learn to use those tools to a lesser degree, the safer we will be. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If we are not as plugged in, less bad stuff can happen.

How do we begin? Try these three tips to get you on your way – they’ve helped my family and families I’ve given these tips to around the country so perhaps they’ll help yours.

Unplug your bedroom as much as possible. The less it glows, the more you’ll sleep! Everyone has a bit too much technology in their bedrooms. See what you can do to cut that down. The darker you can make your bedroom, the more rest you’ll get. This is especially important for children of all ages. They will learn best with more sleep.
Try to unplug a few times a day. Try taking a walk without your phone or eating an unplugged lunch. When out to lunch or dinner, have everyone pile up their phones and actually talk. Purchase a real book or magazine. Get creative. The more you do without plugs, the more refreshed you’ll feel and the easier this tip becomes to execute.
If you wouldn’t share something with someone offline, why share online? We all have trouble with this from time to time. The anonymity of the online world makes it tempting to post with little thought of consequences but think then pause before you post. Ask yourself how the person on the other end would read that post. If the post is not something you would say to a friend over coffee, don’t hit send.

That’s it for now. More soon.

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