The Unwelcome Intruder At Family Meals

The use of information and communication technology (ICT) is leading to radical social changes, including new kinds of social life as the cost of communicating falls dramatically. Traditionally, the home
22 Sep 2014 08:34
The Unwelcome Intruder At Family Meals

The use of information and communication technology (ICT) is leading to radical social changes, including new kinds of social life as the cost of communicating falls dramatically.

Traditionally, the home has been set aside primarily for non-work activities, but with the rise in affordable ICT, work is being done in this once-domestic sphere.

No one is talking to anyone anymore!

Typical family scenes in the evening can involve one parent watching the TV, another on the computer while the teen children are on games consoles or social networking sites or text- ing. Everyone is talking to someone else and no one is talking to anyone at home anymore.

• During Meal times – wholesome and constructive family discussions are not possible as children will be either glued to their mobiles and cannot hear a thing as their ear-phones have taken ownership of their listening ability.

• During Waking up times – couples no longer greet each other with “good morning dear” as the first thing that mum does is to check her face book page or dad will check his laptop for emails.

• During Dates – couples are missing out on true intimacy as both would rather be checking out the latest songs or the movie updates on their phones.

• During family Outings – Playing outdoor games as a family during picnics are a thing of the past as every family member has their own device instead to play with.

• During personal quiet times – Having a time to one’s self  to gather your thoughts by lounging in a bath or taking a walk in the gardens to admire your latest blooms is no longer considered normal! You now can do so many things alone with your cell phone – take pictures for face book, watch a movie, and even Skype your friends overseas.

Be in charge of Technology at Home

People aren’t products, positions, or policies — they’re our co-workers, friends, and family. There’s no fixed formula for getting these things right. Simple family rules around technology and screen time can make a big difference.

• Have no technology on in the morning or leave phones at the end of the table during mealtimes.

• Switch off all screens after a certain time in the evening, or have a technology-free evening at least once a week etc.

• It can also help to plan in advance when and where technology might be used; for example, you might agree with your teenagers that it is only used after homework and for a limited amount of time.

• You could also plan with them a few key programmes they want to watch on TV and stick to this so as to avoid aimless surfing or letting technology fill in all the gaps.

Technology for Communication and not a Barrier.

It is all about being tuned in and involved in what your children and family members are doing. When technology is allowed, try to make sure that it is beneficial and supports family communication.

1. Use screen time to enhance family communication – Join your teens searching on the internet as part of a school project or watching a favorite TV program together. You could join your kids in computer games and use this as a source of shared fun as well as getting to know their specific interests.

2. Negotiate changes with teenagers – Introducing changes in how technology is used will be resisted therefore it is important to involve your teenagers in how it’s to be done. Set a challenge to see who can live without technology for a weekend and give a prize for who goes the longest. The idea is to empower your teenagers to reflect and make decisions about the issues themselves.

3. Focus on healthy pursuits – In some research, it is only when the use of technology interferes with a person’s involvement in healthy activities such as sports, education, hobbies, social projects etc that it becomes a problem. Such healthy pursuits can include family time, quality one-to-one time with parents, as well as meaningful learning projects.

Your family (when you have one) will be a much more important extension of yourself than any work you do. There’s always more work, but you only have one family.

Technology will only continue to grow and encompass further aspects of our lives, even the ones we aren’t able to imagine yet.

The best solution would be to acknowledge and embrace it in an effective and responsible manner. Technology doesn’t necessarily have to be the enemy, because like it or not, it can be the newest, greatest way to bring a family closer.

– Kelvin Davis is the director or Greymouse, a cloud 24/7 oursourcing provider, with offices in Fiji and the Philippines. Insider business news is now available at . Just visit the site and sign up for your free news subscription.


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