Technology & The Family Can They Co-Exist?

“Fathers Day: Disconnect To Reconnect”, this was the catch cry of Phil Cooke back in June (when America has fathers day). On his website, he called for fathers to give up for a WHOLE day anything technology orientated.

I was intrigued when I read the article. He had some pretty scary stats.

*65% of North Americans spend more time with their computer than with their spouse.

**45% of workers say they can’t go more than 15 minutes without an interruption.

**50% of people leave their mobile phones on when they go to bed.

**Workers report that they leave their mobile phones on during movies, church & even sex.

But I think this is an interesting idea for both men and women (children too if they are old enough). To have a no technology day. I will be the first to admit I am probably borderline an internet addict (yea I knew you would be shocked). I blog, facebook, twitter (occasionally), read blogs, and well spend far too much time on the net really. There is always something to do. But having said all that I have no problem putting aside the computer/iphone when I need to, and frequently have hours (almost whole days) of not being on at all. But to go a whole day without being on at all, well that’s just crazy talk.

I was lucky, I was prehaps on of the last generations that was pretty much left to grow up outside, doing my own thing with my friends/family. We fell out of trees, broke/sprained/cut various parts of our bodies, built forts, swam in pools/creeks/waterways unsupervised (that one scares me now), rode bikes half way across the block, and so on. TV’s were around but you really only had one itty bitty 20 inch max, it had dials too none of this remote rubbish. Phones had cords, families had one car only, and you could still get a huge bag of lollies from the corner grocery store (yea remember those?) for $1.

But would I go back? Not without putting up a bloody good fight first. While I love the concept I think the internet/computer world is here to stay. Quite frankly I would suck at the pre-technology methods of keeping yourself amused on a rainy day (I can’t sew, stich, knit, paint, draw, DIY, anything like that really when the creative gene was being handed out I was to busy looking in the other direction). The only thing I could do well is read, maybe write. But I would get bored damn quick.

Technology can be a powerful tool that can also help to connect. We have family who live interstate and we use skype and a blog to help keep them up to date and interact with us. Recently my parents went to New Zealand and we skyped when they had an internet connection. My little monkey loved seeing his grand parents on the computer screen.

But I do acknowledge that like everything else in this world it can be abused, and can hurt those around you. “Internet Addiction” is a term psychologists are pushing to have recognised as a disorder. It is sad that something that can be so useful can be so detrimental as well. But I have seen it and heard it to many times that the computer has damaged a relationship beyond repair.

I believe we need to find the balance. Between being on the internet, which shouldn’t be a bad thing, and spending quality time with the family. I am not one of those people who think technology is a dirty word and the new world we live in is terrible. But you do have to make choices. For instance play a game that the whole family can play like Wii bowling, eat dinner together at the table (30 mins away from the tv wont hurt), read a book at bedtime to your child, have a bath with your child, if you are going to have takeaway go have a picnic outside, or perhaps allocate some time each weekend to do something as a family outdoors (if possible) like ride a bike or walk on the beach. Heck even go to the movies as a family and make it a big event. Maybe even go the whole hog and have a whole day technology free.

At the end of the day if you feel you are missing out on your child’s life – whether its technology, work, or hobby, then you are probably spending too much time doing what ever it is that takes you away from them .


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stacybuckeye
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 11:39:42

    I’m bad about always having the tv on. It’s always on CNN and I just like to have it on in the background. It’s a terrible habit.
    Gage and I do take lots of walks, but it will be a struggle when winter hits. I remember spending lots of unsupervised time outside too. I’m not sure it would be so bad to go back 🙂


  2. caspette
    Sep 05, 2011 @ 11:12:17

    I really do think it’s finding the balance. What works for you. Relying on only one medium to educate/raise your child is not good. If they are only watching tv then they are not outside learning about the real world but like wise tv can teach them about things they are never likey to see or experience.

    Its a touch call and you have to do whats right for your family.

    While I like some apects of the pre-pc/internet world. I really couldn’t go with out my internet for longer then a day LOL But its my “me” time these days.


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