1000 families project the york family

1,000 Families Project:
The York Family

An old-school, smartphone-free lifestyle works for this family of four

I don’t think it’s a jaw-dropping piece of information, but when I mention to people in casual conversation that we don’t own a cell phone, their mouths inevitably gape open. “B-b-but how do you function?” they stammer. Then they rationalize: “You don’t have one, but your husband does, right?”

Nope. No cell phone for either of us. Also no video game system, no Facebook and no Netflix (on family movie nights, we happily watch DVDs and yes, even VHS tapes).

I’m not against technology or mobile phones, and I don’t have a problem with others having them, but for now, it works for our family to be smartphone-free. My husband is a teacher and I’m at home, so land lines serve our communication needs. We’re not completely in the Dark Ages as we do own an iPad and two home computers (admittedly, one of them is from 2001).

There are a few advantages to our choice, and a big one is the financial aspect. I don’t know what it costs to outfit a family with the latest devices and an elaborate plan of calling, texting and data, but I imagine we’re saving quite a bit by not paying for that every month.

Another plus is that it minimizes the distractions when we’re with our two boys (ages eight and four). We take them on typical family outings such as children’s museums, live sporting events and to zoos. While we’re there, however, I’m constantly amazed by the number of parents who are heads-down into their phones. It’s like they’re there in body, but not in spirit. A child will point out something excitedly, only to be met with an empty “mm-hmm” from the parent who is scrolling through an app.

With all the concerns about screen time and inactivity for kids today, I’m grateful that we have two fewer screens in our lives than most people. Someday, as our boys get older and we’re off in separate directions for various sports and activities, it’s likely that we’ll have to relent and join the world of mobile devices. When we do, I’m sure we’ll appreciate the convenience and connectivity. Still, I’ll be glad that we chose to put it off for as long as humanly possible.

This is #1000families post number 67. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.

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Kristi York

About Kristi York

Kristi York is a freelance writer for ParentsCanada, Running Room Magazine, and momstown.ca. View all posts by