Dear friends, I recently completed a year of doing my column “Parenting on Purpose” and I’ve written my last article, at least for now. It has been a wonderful year and I have very much appreciated your support! It has been so gratifying to hear from you, and answer questions you’ve had regarding the very important […]
One of the biggest complaints I hear from parents is how hard it is to get their families together. Even when they’re physically in the same room, each person is isolated from the rest of the family by texting, watching TV, or surfing the Internet. Sound familiar to you? Therefore, it’s important that parents set the example and the tone to establish some low-tech family time.
While technology is a great boon in so many ways, it can also serve as a way to insulate people from each other and from you from you own true self. The constant need to be ‘online’ can be just as addictive as drugs and alcohol. While a technology addiction may seem to be a lot less dangerous, it can still serve as a way to avoid your feelings and being in touch with your inner self.
Each generation is faced with new technological advances and the impact that they have on you as a parent, upon your children, and upon your family as a whole. Society has progressed so no one advocates child labor, your standard of living is higher, and overall life is easier for you, largely as a result of improvements in technology.
On the flip side, it’s less likely to see families gathered around the dinner table engaging with one another. It is far more common to see to families gathered around the television, listening to someone else. That’s even if you still have television time as a family. Society has gone from one television in the household to having one in each room, and with the advent of laptop computers, tablets, and smart phones, you’re literally taking your television with you wherever you go.
Without discounting the fact that your kids are actually learning skills that may help them with their careers in the future, it is still important for people to connect face to face and is so crucial for a close family connection. It’s precisely the lack of connection that leads people to seek solace in drugs, alcohol, and other risky behaviors.
Are you concerned that your kids are spending too much time texting on their smartphones? Is this a valid concern or just the contemporary version of your parents complaining about you spending too much time on the telephone when you were younger?
What about you? Are you checking your emails or Facebook accounts instead of interacting with your family?
The best way to evaluate this is to avoid Googling the answer. Check in with your Internal Guidance System (IGS.) How does it feel when you think about your family and the amount and quality of time you spend together? How does it feel to consider making some changes to your own behavior? Be open to receiving inspiration about what is best for your family. Rather than setting down ground rules, invite each family member to tap into their IGS and consider the question as well.
As a family, you can discuss your ideas for low-tech experiences you can enjoy together. Some families choose an entire day where they limit technology use outside of school or work. Others choose to limit the number of hours they use tech toys every day. Still others have a ‘technology fast’ one day a month. You may find that instead of focusing on restricting technology, your family chooses to encourage outdoor activity or a new hobby.
There is no one right answer. The options are as varied as people are. What turns out to be the right low-tech family time solution for your family may not be the same as the answer for someone else’s. You don’t have to go online for confirmation; put down the tech and go ‘inline’ for the answer.
Please feel free to comment.
© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.