The surge in the development of more portable electronics has brought about a change in the family dynamic. More parents are bringing work home, kids and teens are texting and surfing the internet on their cell phones, and social networking is the way in which families stay in touch.
There used to be a time when kids would go to school and parents would go to work, and life would still be centered on the family. Nowadays, the school day does not end because children are constantly texting, emailing, or connecting via social networking sites; the workday does not end because parents are attached at the hip to their laptops and cell phones, almost constantly “on call” for work.
So what happened?
There’s no one person or thing at fault. Children are feeling the pressure to succeed in school, so they look for a way to relax and unwind when they get home; adults feel more and more stress at work to meet deadlines, so they bring work home in order to get the job done and avoid getting fired.
As parents feel the pressure from work, there is less interaction with the children. As such, electronic devices serve as a babysitter for parents. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics (JAMA), an increase in electronic use in both children and parents leads to a weaker emotional bond.
When parents use electronics more and more at home (for work or for pleasure), children suffer. Adult use of electronics may make children feel like they’re not important or that this is the way the family is supposed to be run. Children will imitate what they see, so if parents are constantly on electronics, children will be as well. On the other hand, if parents are focused on family-oriented activities such as cooking or playing games together, the child then better understands the proper family dynamic.
Before using electronics at home, it is important to consider the impact on the family dynamic. It can feel very isolating with everyone on their own electronic devices and not paying attention to one another. Here are four tips to focus on family and get away from electronics: Eliminate technology from the family mealtime – turn off the television and keep all cell phones away from the table. Set technology limits for the entire family, not just the kids – limit where and when electronic devices may be used. Pull out a board game and play together – this is a great time for communication and family bonding. Finally, go for a family walk – this increases communication and physical fitness as a family.
Leave a comment below with how you help limit access to electronics and technology in your family!