Although technology allows people to stay connected over long distances, whether through such communication tools as Skype, instant messaging, or texting, it can interfere with family bonding time. The question then is: how do connected families prevent from becoming disconnected?
It isn’t unusual for kids and parents to be sitting in the living room browsing the web on their individual smartphones; or parents driving while the children sit in the back watching movies or playing games on their tablets. Even mealtime is invaded by constant texting.
The pressure to stay connected online is intense, with the workday encroaching on downtime. The social pressure and FOMO (fear of missing out) drive both kids and parents to check Facebook and other social media throughout the day. It is inevitable that the demands of staying connected to the outside world affects what goes on inside the family home.
Research shows that adults spend over 12 hours a day staying connected via various media. The tech-addicted family is a real phenomenon. And the fact is the human brain is only equipped to focus on one thing at a time, even with technology forcing us to multi-task.
With focus being divided, the result is increased isolation and disconnection. And parents model the behaviors their children will mimic; even when parents complain that their child is online too much, they have paved the way for what is considered acceptable.
So, what are some ways that families can make sure technologies are simply tools rather than the creation of a divide? A fundamental thing to remember is this absorption limits the amount of time devoted to communication. The goal to stay connected to each other means the willingness to rethink relationships with technology that has become so essential to daily life.
There are some specific actions that parents and kids can take to maintain communication, carve out time and strengthen bonds:
See Technology As A Way To Stay Connected.
Whether it is texting when families aren’t together or using an app that helps family members keep track of where each other are for safety purposes, technology can be a tool to maintain connection outside of the home. Online schedulers can allow parents and kids to carve out time and make sure there are no conflicts with appointments or events. Using technology in family management and communication can be a way to maintain relationships.
Have Scheduled Offline Family Time
Even if it is for a weekly dinner or monthly game night, having a scheduled few hours in which everyone is expected to disconnect from the outside world is key to strengthening bonds. This can be as easy as a nightly ritual in which parents read for 20 minutes before bedtime, rather than the kids playing games online or watching Netflix. This can be a great way to relax and feel connected. Staying connected this way does take some effort and requires the development of new habits. But the benefits of these slivers of offline time will keep technology from eroding family bonds. Instilling balance in your family can be easier when you use a reliable parental control on your kids mobile devices. Netsanity, for example has a Timeblocker scheduler, when used on a regular basis, gives your kids and teens a break from their mobile device. Sometimes you may need to resort to blocking some social apps, even if temporarily if the teen seems to be too obsessed. Appblocker can be used to block apps such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and others, on demand, if your child is having trouble tearing themselves away.
Maintain A United Front
Families can strengthen their identities and increase a sense of unity in what the do outside the home as well. Whether going to church, watching kids play a sport, or volunteering together, a family can maintain a united front in the ways they interact with outside of the home. These types of activities are fundamentally offline in many ways; but technology can also be used to preserve the memories or share with others online. The key is for families to have special things they do outside of the home that heightens their sense of belonging and connection.
Making an effort to stay connected online and offline provide a great foundation and improve the quality of life for everyone.
Netsanity was made by parents for parents. With easy to use software designed to give control and sanity back to parents, Netsanity enables a safer and healthier mobile experience for kids. See for yourself with a free trial!
Netsanity is available for both Apple and Android devices.