Here are some tips from experts on digital detoxing to help your family unplug:
Don't go cold turkey. Cold turkey almost always fails. Ease off the technology gradually. Limit yourself to checking email three times a day, instead of every 10 minutes. Check Facebook once in the morning and once in the evening, not every hour. Small steps equate to progress.
Set new ground rules at the family dinner table. Turn off the TV. Silence all phones and cellphones. Shut off all laptops and devices. Focus only on one another and spending quality time.
Consider digital detoxing from your smartphone with these free apps: Digital Detox for Android smartphones disables your phone for a period you specify. Sabbath Manifesto for Androids, iPhones, Blackberrys and other smartphones does the same (sabbathmanifesto.org/unplug).
Lead by example. Don't bark at your kids to shut off the TV while you can't pull yourself away from updating your Facebook page. When you tell your kids to unplug, show them how it's done.
Get real. Go have coffee with a friend. Take a walk. Enjoy a picnic lunch. Write a letter to someone you haven't spoken with in a while. Buy fresh flowers. Open the drapes and enjoy the sun.
As you grow more comfortable with being unplugged, designate larger time frames for going technology-free. Decide how long you want to unplug -- perhaps over a weekend -- and do it. Remember to notify friends that you're unplugging.
Make a regular habit of digital detoxing -- daily, weekly and on family vacations. Your kids and spouse will thank you.
-- Scripps Howard News Service