Technology – Good or Bad for Today’s Family?
National Family Month is upon us. If you’re not familiar with it, it was established to encourage family relationships and focuses on developing healthy, confident kids. It’s a sometimes needed reminder to return our attention to the importance of the family unit. Here at SafetyWeb it has made us pause to consider what makes families tick from a technological standpoint. In our modern, device-dependent age, many may argue that the family unit has suffered. Kids are too busy playing video games, texting and posting on social networks to interact with anyone else, while Mom or Dad are buried in their phones, talking, texting, fiddling with an app, or even working, also preventing them from communicating with the rest of the family. And, with all that going on, where does that leave important interactions with grandparents and other extended family members?
The reality is that smart phones, computers and the Internet aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they are increasingly dominating our day-to-day lives. But on the other hand, they certainly offer benefits worth exploring. According to a recent Pew Internet report, technology is helping to bring families together. Mobile phones and the Internet are helping families maintain strong social ties. In fact, 53% of those questioned said that mobile phones increased the quality of their contact with distant family members, while 47% said it improved interaction with those they live with.
All in all, technology offers up many different pros and cons for today’s family. The more we educate ourselves on both, the better we can work towards keeping the downsides at bay while taking advantage of the benefits and positive impact it can have on every family member.
Here are just a few ways technology can be used to bring the family closer together:
- Find out what the buzz is about. Are your children immersed in their favorite video or online games around the clock? Family game night has been around for a long time. Acknowledge the changing medium and take it to the next level by establishing video game night. Giving your child the opportunity to show you something they really enjoy is a great way to interact and bond, and it keeps you in the loop with what they are doing online.
- Speaking of games, let technology take the family on the road together. Go outdoor adventuring with your family through geocaching. This activity has gained popularity through the years as a high-tech treasure hunting game that involves finding hidden objects, called “geocaches.” Once you find what you’re looking for, you share your discoveries online. Now that most phones are equipped with GPS devices and online capabilities, you’ve got all the tools you need to play.
- For kids with their own cell phones, consider texting them on a more frequent basis. In addition to the fact that it’s often the communication of choice for kids, it’s also a way to avoid negative interactions. Kids are less likely to roll their eyes at you or to take on a sarcastic tone when exchanging words in this manner.
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