Tech Talk: Offline October

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Tech Talk with Lisa Hendey/Son Rise Morning Show (CatholicMom.com)

On a recent episode of the Son Rise Morning Show, we discussed ways families can disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other.

The latest results from Common Sense Media’s survey are in: American kids’ daily mobile screen time is almost 10 times higher than it was in 2011.
While October is almost over, there is still time for families and individuals to participate in a movement called Offline October.
  • Stop posting stories, start living them.
  • The latest results from Common Sense Media’s survey are in: American kids’ daily mobile screen time is almost 10x higher than it was in 2011.
  • Offline October is a challenge for people to give up social media for the month of October to support teen suicide prevention.
With this initiative being started in Littleton CO, what did Archbishop Aquila of Denver have to say about the impact of social media on bullying and particularly on teen suicide? (Read more at DenverCatholic.org.)
  • With 3 very recent teen suicides in the span of a week in Littleton, Bishop Aquila shared that Suicide by teens in Colorado is tragically on the rise.
  • Bullying and digital self harm: One theme seen running through the stories of teens who struggle with suicidal thoughts is the pervasive influence of social media on their identity and sense of self-worth
  • Quoted WCD 2014 – “It is not enough to be passersby on the digital highways, simply ‘connected;’ connections need to grow into true encounters. We cannot live apart, closed in on ourselves. We need to love and to be loved. We need tenderness.”
  • The most important thing that we can do for those who are consumed with their online existence is to persistently, lovingly show them that they are a son or daughter of God the Father, and that this is what matters most.
One parish that takes this seriously is St. Angela Merici in Texas. During their teen retreats, they have a “put away the phones” policy to introduce to teens that they CAN put a phone away and live F2F (face to face) with people. The parish does this at Confirmation retreat also, talking about self-discipline and moderation. Parish leaders note that anything that encourages teens to INTERACT face to face while trying to decrease cyber-bullying and reduce teen suicide is good!
What are some simple things that families can do to embrace the spirit of Offline October going forward?
  • Outdoor activities — hike, zoo, sporting event
  • Communicate in a letter — thank you, elderly relative, priest
  • Try new things; meet new people

For the full list of ideas, see the Offline October Bucket List.

Did your family try Offline October this year? 

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.


Copyright 2017 Lisa Hendey

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children’s fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa’s articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

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