Friday, September 26, 2014
THE TECHNO TRAP
Stand back and take a good look at your kids and their activities.
Now, for those over 40 years of age, think back to what you were doing as kids. What is the most noticeable difference between then and now?
Way back in the day when I was a very little kid, TV hadn’t yet been invented! Imagine that!
We made our own fun playing with our friends, riding bikes and horses, making huts, swimming at the beach or in the creek, climbing trees and catching, cooking and eating eels. Every Sunday afternoon we went with our parents to visit our relations. We communicated with one another face to face. We always sat round the table and ate home-cooked meals and had plenty of lively discussions as we ate. We had to share bedrooms. There was only one car per family and, because relations and friends seemed to spend more time with each other, we were a closely knit community.
OK, now take a giant leap forward to 2014.
What do we commonly see? Kids amusing themselves in a much more sedentary and silent manner. They have handheld games, sit in front of their computers or TV playing games and texting or talking to their friends on cell phones. Meals, often not home-cooked, are eaten in front of TV, in relays, with little opportunity for family conversation. Work patterns and pace of life have created a huge gap in face-to-face conversation. Parents often bring work home and have little or no time for their kids or they are doing two jobs to try and make ends meet. Kids tend to become physically isolated from each other and from their parents because their bedrooms have become their own ‘play stations’ equipped with their own TV, computer and phone. Physical contact is not necessary in order to communicate. Both kids and parents have slipped into separate worlds.
How can we bridge the gap?
1. Take a long, hard look at your family dynamics. What is everyone preoccupied with? Make
time every day when technology is put away and you can talk, parents included.
2. Create things in common e.g. family activities to develop a sense of belonging and security.
3. Give time to each family member so they feel cared for, needed, loved and appreciated.
4. Bring life’s experiences, maturity and wisdom into our conversations. Our kids need to know
how we deal with stuff and that they can do the same.
5. Value input from children. They are wise beyond their years many times.
The techno trap is just as much a problem with adults as it is with children. Be the ones to
show the example. Stop! PUT IT AWAY. Eyeball them. Give one another the benefit of your attention. The gap will soon disappear when we encourage face-to-face conversation.
Written by Sally Burgess
Forefront Families LLC