Last week I was sitting in the cosy lounge in front of the fire chatting with my teenagers. We weren’t talking about anything rocket science and I thought I could easily keep chatting and check my emails – I hadn’t had a chance all day. I try not to be on my laptop while the kids are around and it is family time, as when the lid is flipped up I feel like it is a barrier. I find that if someone has a lap top open, there is really no knowing what is happening on the screen if you are not seeing it and that can be isolating.
Anyway, I pulled my phone out, checked my emails and continued chatting with the kids. But, a really interesting thing happened – the conversation died and the kids left the room!
I did feel bad as I realised that pulling out my screen had changed the whole ‘vibe’. How would I have felt if one of my kids had pulled out their phone right there and then?
A couple of days later an email was sent my way that contained the following information:
” I thought you might be interested in 2 facts which relate to younger Australian children and technology, today.
1. There are a significantly greater number of children needing speech therapy today due to young children spending so much time on devices; and
2. Even more concerning is that research now shows that the average number of words spoken in the family home today is about 500 – 750. It used to be 3,000 – 4,000! Again, technology is the biggest cause of this drop.”
This was linked to an article
that is really worth clicking on to read in full, amongst many great things, it said:
“When parents are endlessly busy on computers, phones, tablets and watching TV, that is time they are not spending interacting with their child.”
USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Father and son (8-9) sitting at table
The article was not slamming technology, as used in a thoughtful way it is amazing, but it was really challenging parents to think about the way they use it with their kids and around their kids.
I have been thinking about technology etiquette for awhile. I know sometimes I find it hard not to quickly check it or use a spare moment to catch up on screen reading, as time is precious. But, at what cost is this connection coming and what example am I setting?
There is always that challenge to practice what I preach – but first it is important for me to think through what does it look like?
Actual face to face time, un-distracted is a gift and blessing for both our children and ourselves! Like many good things in life, it has to be worked on, given time and thought through.