Slide1Randi Zuckerberg has a new book out—actually, two new books on the same topic: unplugging from the high-tech world we live in. The first, Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives, is for adults; the second, Dot, is geared to children.

It’s ironic that these books would come from Zuckerberg, who is a former marketing executive for Facebook and whose brother, Mark, was a cofounder of this madly popular social media site. But I salute Zuckerberg…and echo her sentiments.

In my new book, Revolutionize Your Relationships: Communication Secrets on How to Succeed at Work and at Home, I discuss the many ways modern technology has affected how we communicate both at home and at work. With so many high-tech gadgets at our fingertips, the demands on our time and attention only seem to multiply—not to mention the impact these devices have on our relationships.

Screen Time vs. Face Time

Not surprisingly, research reveals that many of us spend more time texting, emailing, chatting on Facebook and instant messaging each other than we do actually talking to one another. In fact, according to the most recent data, Americans send/receive over 184 billion text messages each month! Think about what happens every time you receive a text message. Not only does it interrupt your brain function and attention, it directs your focus away from the people or tasks you’re experiencing at the moment.

This is not to say that high-tech devices don’t come in handy…I use them all the time. But the more people rely on technology to communicate, the more they start to drift apart. In other words, if we’re not careful, these devices can quickly rob us of meaningful dialogue and face-to-face communication.

I recently received coached a couple that asked me to help them restore the communication and the connectivity in their marriage. Life, work, the kids and technology had played a role in eroding the foundation of their relationship. I helped them create a schedule that allowed them to get back to communicating the “old-fashioned” way. The end result was that, as a couple and a family, they quickly began to grow closer and started having way more fun.

Of course, many of us choose to remain plugged in at home—texting, tweeting, checking out Facebook statuses, chatting online and playing games with friends on our smart phones. But being always connected can take a huge toll on our relationships by robbing us of the personal communication that bonds us to others.

Remember, every time you turn an electronic device, you’re likely tuning out someone you care about. For this reason, I urge all of you to try and spend two to three hours each day unplugged from technology and plugged into the people in your life who are important to you.

The end result will be amazingly rewarding, I promise!

– Coach Todd Reed, CPC