Lifestyle

This Is What Happened When We Had a Tech-Obsessed Family Give Up Phones, Tablets, Computers and TV For FIVE DAYS

by Rachael Ray Show Staff 9:00 AM, March 2, 2016

Aired March 2, 2016

A lot of us are guilty of being attached to our devices at all times. (Email, social media and games -- oh my!)

But one family we met may just take it to another level!

"It's an addiction," mom Jennifer admits. "We are always on them. I’m not really sure what we would do without them."

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(She says her kids even text back and forth while sitting within arm’s length of each other -- and even the 2-year-old in the family is tech-obsessed!)

"I believe the electronics take away from family time a lot," she continues.

That'd why Rach presented the Russell family with a challenge: FIVE WHOLE DAYS without their phones, tablets, TV and computers (unless they’re being used for schoolwork, of course)!

(A "tech timeout" a.k.a. tech detox, if you will!)

And while the older children weren't thrilled about locking their phones away ("I don’t think I can do it all week," one said), the family of eight was willing to give it a shot.

Dad Mark was tempted to turn on the TV and the kids missed being in CONSTANT contact with their friends, but they survived! 👏

Wondering how they kept themselves busy?!

Well, they left the house a lot, Jennifer says, and played lots and lots of games. In fact, Jennifer and Mark were pleasantly surprised to come home one day to find their kids voluntarily playing a board game together. (Score!)

BUT the week wasn't without its pain points.

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While Jennifer admits the tech detox worked wonders on her relationships with her younger children, it did make communication a bit difficult with the older ones.

"I didn't know where they were," she explains of them not being able to text her while they were out of the house. "I didn’t know what they were doing."

And let's just say Jennifer and her older daughters didn’t *not* drive each other crazy here and there. (As all mothers and daughters do, are we right?)

But all in all, the family did discover the benefits of having boundaries with devices to leave more room for quality time together. (And one of the older kids even admitted to not needing her phone as much as she thought she did!)

"I think I'm going to have to learn to limit myself," Jennifer says. Her plan? Try to "treat [my phone] like a landline and not pick it up unless it rings."

Watch the video above to see the family's video diary of their "tech timeout" experience.