Digital Boundaries

Dr. John Townsend

May 7, 2018

Tech offers many wonderful options through the web, smartphones, tablets, and so forth. That being said, it can be very easy to “sucked in” to the digital world and lose sight of priorities in the real world. It can also make it hard to set aside time to take care of yourself and others.

What Are Digital Boundaries?

Simply put, digital boundaries are property lines designed to optimize the positives and minimize the negatives of the digital world.  

When you have reasonable property lines, the digital world becomes your servant and not your master. It’s often the other way around for many of us these days.

That’s not good for us.

Why Are Digital Boundaries Important?

Let me explain why digital boundaries are so important. First, there are times we MUST have freedom from access, meaning access to yourself, people who want your time and attention or to hang out.

The digital age has changed everything. It’s no longer just getting up, going to work, coming home, and spending time with family. Now, anybody can get to you anywhere on the planet, at any time of day, 24/7, sun up, sun down, moon up, moon down.

Have you ever had an instance where you get home from work and you get an email or text and think, “Oh, that’ll take me a second?”

It’s bad for our brains.

It’s bad for our relationships.

In fact, it’s bad for life.

Starting Setting Digital Boundaries

The time to set some digital boundaries is NOW! To start, we need to set reasonable digital boundaries when we get home from work. Yes, it’s time to turn off your devices and being present! For example, I like to go ‘no digital’ for an hour after I get home from work to spend quality time with my wife and kids.

Setting digital boundaries is an important idea is because we need great relationships in real life to keep us energized. I mean, isn’t life really about relationships and the things we do?

Great relationships thrive with face-to-face interaction. The more face time you have with the people that are important to you (like someone you’re dating, your spouse, your kids, grandkids, or your great friends) the better the relationship will be.

Making time to connect with these people in real life, instead of digitally, will help foster strong relationships. Emphasize how important seeing them face-to-face is to you, and I’m confident you’ll be happy with how these relationships grow.

What my wife and I do sometimes is have a “non-pixelated night.” This means there’s no TV, you can’t get to us over the phone, and there’s no texting or email. I know you think this might be impossible to do. Admittedly, it’s been hard, but really cool. Try limiting your digital exposure over time instead of all at once to get started.

Worried about your own digital boundaries? Join TownsendNOW to get help setting realistic digital boundaries with the people in your life!


Related Articles

Craig Kautsch “True Grit” podcast

Ever wonder what the meaning of emotional intelligence really is? My next guest is Dr. John Townsend has written over 30 books on the topic. He has sold over 10 million copies, including the New York Times bestselling Boundaries series. John is a nationally-known...

read more
Vulnerability: Absolutely Risky. And Absolutely Necessary

Vulnerability: Absolutely Risky. And Absolutely Necessary

You and I need people in our lives who care deeply about us, who are safe, and who want our best. We want them to  “be there” with us, to encourage us when we are discouraged, to give us insight on what’s going on, and to call us to the right action steps to make life...

read more
NYT: How to Set Pandemic Boundaries for Relatives

NYT: How to Set Pandemic Boundaries for Relatives

Dr. Townsend had the privilege of being interviewed for this informative and timely article by the New York Times. Article Excerpt: Be a conduit, not a lifeline ... "When you feel overwhelmed, Dr. Townsend recommends that you create a list of all of your...

read more