Technology is everywhere – it has invaded our car rides, our dinnertime and our conversations with friends. It seems to creep in quietly, without notice, but has a way of taking over. It is time for us to take back control and assert ourselves against this thief of time and resources. Here are some tips on how your family can do just that:
1) Leave the cell phones by the door. Inside your main door, have a basket (or a charging station) for everyone’s cell phone. Turn them off. Make family time a priority without these unwanted guests. This may be a radical concept for some members of your family, but there was a time, not very long ago, when cell phones didn’t even exist and we all got along just fine without them.
2) Limit time on the computer or with video games. Put these time stealers in their place. Set a timer to help you and your family members be disciplined if necessary. For some children, it is better to set aside one day a week for a larger dose of computer or video game time than to provide them with a slow drip throughout the week. By doing this, you also have the added benefit of getting yourself out of the role of daily micromanager.
3) Invite your kid’s friends over for dinner. Teens have lost the art of meaningful conversation. Texting has replaced real relationships. Having their friends over for dinner will give you the chance to model conversation-making but, more importantly, will help you connect with the people that have such a powerful influence on your children.
4) Reserve in-car DVD players for special trips. Sometimes technology can be a good thing. No doubt, a long drive in the car with young children is much more pleasant with the help of a good movie. However, don’t make this type of technology a regular visitor. Instead try a round of road side golf, the license plate game or just good old fashioned conversation.
5) Limit the number of T.V.’s in your home. Some families have televisions in virtually every room. Cut back and reconnect. You can get things back into perspective by moving the main T.V. to somewhere other than the family room. Replace it with shelves that hold board games, puzzles and card games. Invest in a card table and re-institute family game night.
No doubt, technology is here to stay. Things will become faster and more “convenient.” But make sure you don’t get swept up in these “waves of the future.” You could be inviting a tsunami into your home.