How much time are we on our own devices and not spending time with our family? I've also heard from several patients in the past who have mentioned several things such as "I wish the internet had never been invented" because their parents spend so much time sitting on the internet rather than spending time with them. Sometimes those are extreme examples that I hear, but it affects us all still the same.
Jan Cloninger and Rosemary Strembicki, LCSW posted an article (link here) through huffingtonpost.com that looks at the effects of technology on not only children, but also families. They listed several great questions that we can use to analyze our own usage, but I chose two very powerful questions below and added a few of my own.
* Is family time interrupted because of electronics?
* What kind of messages are you sending to your children about using electronics?
* How much electronic time is there versus family time?
* What's the first thing you do when you get home? Is it get online or is it speaking with our kids?
They also provided several helpful suggestions for changes that I have made some adaptations to as well.
* Have a basket at your front door to deposit electronic devices. This is for parents and kids. Devices can be allowed after things such as homework are done and dinner is finished to allow more quality time together and to manage priorities appropriately.
* Use this as a teaching tool to help set limits. Kids learn directly from watching parents, set limits for yourself as well as them to provide an appropriate example.
* Make things such as television or movies a family event to talk about what you've watched and how it relates with family values and beliefs.
* Engage in family conversation more by setting your devices aside.
Through research and scanning internet pages, I came up with several articles that had great examples of how powerful devices can be and the effects on family - both positive and negative. I have listed them below in case readers are interested in other resources. Ultimately though, what is more important? Our technology or our family? Where can we start to make even the smallest changes to make a difference? I'm definitely no fanatic or a stranger to this problem myself, but I do hope to make my own smaller changes for the strength of my family. Feel free to share any comments or changes you might have made!
How Our Digital Devices are Affecting Our Relationships
Digital Age Affects Family Time and Relationships
Put Down that Cellphone!