The Disconnected Dad: The Struggle is Real


Hey, guys! I’m Seth Dahl. I am a husband, father of three young children, and pastor at a large church. If you didn’t already know, I’m on a journey to becoming “The Disconnected Dad.” I set apart 30 days where I lived without the internet in my home, logged the effects it had on my connection with my family, and now I’m sharing it with you in a podcast. The Disconnected Dad podcast is available to download on iTunes.

In the last episode, I told you how much this experience is benefiting me personally. I feel peaceful, settled and happy. I also feel my need for significance being met simply by being present and useful in our home. This replaced the unhealthy ways I used to meet this need such as likes, shares or being on stage.

I’m on day twelve of this thirty-day journey, and it has started to feel tough. It has been a while since I felt compelled to check social media, but the urge returned today.

I did allow texting in my home tonight. I didn’t, however, use the internet or iMessage. It felt strange because, for nearly two weeks, I’ve had my phone on airplane mode—or as I’ve been calling it, family mode. Tonight, I sent a couple of texts and then I put the phone down and continued to engage fully.

I think that many of us relate to our text messages through fear. We are afraid of what people think of us, and it affects the way we text. I noticed that I felt the pressure to respond to text messages right away. I was worried that people would get offended or that they would think poorly of me.

Despite the fact that today was difficult, I continue to experience the benefits of this experience. My wife told me that I inspired her to put her computer away until after the kids have gone to bed. The tables have turned; usually, she is the one telling me to put my phone away and I’m the one persuading her to use social media more. It was a fun twist.

Being present has affected my ability to notice and enjoy things. I ate a peach, and I was blown away by how vibrant the flavors were. It is amazing what small details you notice when you have the time. I’ve spent time doing things that I truly love. I’ve been able to read far more than I usually can. I have almost finished two difficult theological books. I’ve also taken the opportunity to really talk to my wife, Lauren. I care so much about family, so I’m glad to invest the time I’ve gained back into my relationships.

Even without using social media, the internet, or my phone, I still tend to check out when I’m with my family. This confirms what I already suspected—my phone is not the issue. This leaves me with the question, “What am I trying to solve with this experiment?”

To hear the thoughts and theories I’ve had so far, make sure to download the Disconnected Dad podcast on iTunes! I am nearing the halfway mark, and soon I will collect my data and start building a plan to integrate the internet back into my home. Follow the journey with me. Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review.