It used to be that, as kids, we spent most of our time outside playing. We built tree houses, ran spontaneous races with our friends, and played hide and seek. We searched for worms, looked for little daisies to link together in a chain and sometimes, we just laid on the grass and looked up at the clouds. Simple days and simple times.
When we had kids, the television became more of a babysitter while parents were busy doing things around the house, paying bills or working in the yard. If we were an attentive parent, we would involve our kids in the chores, and become more involved in their activities at school or in the community. Family time was still important and valuable.
Today, things have changed from family time to disconnected family time. Each member has a screen on, whether it is the phone, the t.v., tablets, video games or just looking at Youtube or Facebook. There is a lot more silence in the house than there used to be because each family member is in their own little tech world by the hour. Conversations are done without lifting their eyes from the screen they are absorbed with. Sentences are short and with very little engagement or emotions.
There is quite a price to pay for this tech overload taking over our American families. Marriages are disconnected, kids are emotionally detaching from the rest of the family. Kids don’t have to ask their parents to explain anything anymore because they can just Google it or ask Siri. Kids and parents alike are becoming addicted to screens; so much so, that there are actual counselors trained to help kids with tech addiction. Seriously?!
So, the question, Gary Chapman asks in his book, “Growing Up Social”, is “Is technology bringing your family closer together or driving you farther apart?” Like television, one generation ago, parents are sitting their toddlers in front of a screen to “keep them occupied” for just a few minutes, at least. I saw a couple of parents with a child under 2 come into a restaurant, sit their little girl in the high chair, put an I-pad in front of her and barely talked to her during the entire meal!!!! Are you kidding me?!
I would much rather have an eye-to-eye conversation with our kids than have to compete with a screen and only look at the top of their head! Same with my husband. I am guilty of staring at a screen too, readers, but have set up some boundaries for the sake of my relationships. I had to.
This week on Chained No More Talk Radio, our guest Rob Reinow, Founder of Visionary Family Ministries, will be talking on this very subject. His topic will be “Parenting in the World of Tech.” Tune in for some real talk about this important part of family life in America. 2pm ET www.toginet.com You can download the podcast later that day at www.toginet.com/shows/chainednomore.
Take a bit of time and evaluate the amount of time your family members are on screens of any kind. Now evaluate the time you spend talking with your kids and spouse eye-to-eye. Does there need to be an adjustment for the health of your family? Could you replace hours of screen time with table games, playing outside, putting a good puzzle together, serving together, enjoying community activities or events, riding bikes, going to a movie or a pool together…or just having a meaningful conversation? Make your time count with your kids today because before you know it, they will be gone.