"We went technology-free for one day. I cheated."

I blame the school holidays. We were coming up with suggestions of things to do during the recent school break when I had this ‘brainwave’ to go technology-free for one day. I’m not talking about your regular household gadgets and gizmos, but your i-devices kind of technology.

No iPhones, no iPads, no computers, no TV, no music, no entertainment. No smart-anything for a whole, entire day. So when we put the kids to bed the night before our experiment, I warned them that for the next day we would rely on our wits; not our WiFi.

Play in the park; not on your phone. Image via iStock.

Here's how our technology-free day panned out.

6am: My alarm goes off - on my iPhone. Oops. Strike one. Never mind, I tell myself. I just need to be more aware. I congratulate myself for not checking my Facebook messages while I brush my teeth. As I wash my face, I notice a faint halo above my head in the bathroom mirror.

6:20am: Stumped again! I always sync my morning run on Nike+ Running. Now how am I going to track my average pace, calories burned and distance run? My left arm feels naked without my phone armband. Guess what? It starts drizzling. Wish I'd checked the weather before I set foot outdoors, but how?

7:30am: Breakfast. The kids ask for banana pancakes. I relent - it's the school holidays. Luckily, I know the recipe, so I don't need to look it up online. Better yet, we've always had a 'no technology at table' policy. I polish my halo.

8am: My husband leaves for work. "Don't call us," we remind him, as he escapes to his office cubicle with a high speed internet connection.

9am: The kids and I head off to the park for a play. After tossing a Frisbee and playing tag, the kids make a beeline for the swings. I try to resist the urge to check my phone. Just one little peek... What if somebody's trying to get a hold of me urgently? "Mum, is that your phone?" pipes up my son from his perch. Sprung! Strike two.

10am: We drive to Woolies for our weekly grocery shop. My shopping list is on the iPad at home. An hour and a half later, we're at the check-out with a trolley full of Things I Do Not Need: pearl couscous, four blocks of Lindt chocolate, hand sanitiser, goji berries, cooking twine and Epsom salts... They were on special! Okay, maybe the chocolate wasn't.

Did I need cornflakes or muesli? Better check the shopping list on my phone. Image via iStock.

12 noon: I usually eat lunch watching Ellen on TV. Instead, the kids and I take our cheese toasties into the backyard and enjoy the winter sun on our backs. The kids ask about the "olden days" and think I'm pulling their legs when I say that Mummy and Daddy watched black and white TV with just two channels.


1pm: We curl up on my bed with a pile of books. I'm happy we don't have a Kindle - I love the feel of a good book in my hands. We end up having a Nana nap.

2:30pm: Speaking of Nana naps, I've forgotten we had to Skype with Nana and Papa back in India. I'm about to send them a text to reschedule when my daughter reminds me, "You can't use your phone, remember?" Strike three.

4pm: The kids' favourite program Dragon Riders of Berk is on TV - a TV they have vowed not to watch. 'Ha-ha!' I think, 'Let's see how they cope with this.' I overhear my daughter tell her brother, "Don't worry, we'll watch it on the iView app tomorrow."

5:15pm: Our Spotify playlist is usually on while I cook dinner, but that's a no-go zone today. The kids help make a salad.

6:30pm: My husband has returned from work and we sit down to dinner. He wants to hear all about our technology-free day. The kids’ verdict: "interesting".

7:30pm: We tuck our children into bed. I switch my phone back on. Ping! Ping!! Ping!!! The emails, texts and WhatsApp messages come thick and fast. "Mum, your technology-free day is not over yet," chime the kids from their room. Strike four.

7:45pm: I tip-toe into the kids' bedroom to give them a goodnight kiss - and check if they're asleep. The devil is dancing on my shoulder, tugging at my halo with his pitchfork.


7:46pm: Sneaking my phone into the bathroom, I switch it back on. I am in online heaven, mesmerised by my mobile. Strike five, six, seven...I’m out.

Oh iPhone, how I missed you. Image via iStock.

9:55pm: I have been down the rabbit hole of emails, Facebook likes, YouTube videos, tweets and Instagram hearts. That halo is smashed to smithereens.

Have you tried to live without technology? Any tips?