Technology is destroying my family. There are screens everywhere. I am nostalgic for the days before iPhones, and gathering around to watch Family Ties.
You are clear that there is a problem, and probably have a sense of what needs to be done. The question is how to change a bad habit, especially one that has become so ubiquitous. Part of this problem, is, of course, its widespread nature: everyone, it seems, is doing it - constantly checking their iPhones, Facebook accounts, handing their kid the iPad.
Just last week, in fact, my four-year-old purchased a season of Peppa Pig from my Kindle which I had turned over to her while packing for a trip. When my husband grew frustrated, I tried to justify that it was, at least, a smart purchase. He was not amused, and I did come around to see the absurdity in trying to, in any way, qualify my toddler authorizing my credit card.
I think that most of us know the crushing feeling of sitting across from someone who we love and are excited to spend time with, and having that person be distracted by an incoming email or text message.
It is so addictive, the pull of the devices.
I’m not certain if you were being hyperbolic in use of the word “destroy” to describe the effect of all of this technology in your home; perhaps its not an immediate destruction, but it is a slow eroding of what is most sacred - authentic human interaction with those you love and honoring that - in real time. Once you recognize that, there is an urgency to make change.
Of course, all things in moderation. For now, in my home, screen-time for my daughter will only be on the actual TV, old-school style akin to popping in a video, not just to monitor what she watches, but to create one place where that happens and reinforce that TV is not for all times or all spaces. Same goes for other devices: Never during meal times.
Your note made me nostalgic for the early aughts when I moved to NYC and lived with roommates who all shared one land-line; we had to coordinate our AOL dial-up, and there was a max of about an hour before you’d get kicked off the line. I composed messages in my head and my fingers raced to get the words out in time. The connection was slow and frustrating, but it was contained. We spent more time in the living room, together, listening to music and talking, or outside of the apartment, exploring the city.
This does not have to be a time foregone. Enjoy the conveniences of the technology, but protect your family-life and draw boundaries. You know what to do, Distracted, and you can make it happen. Take the lead and reclaim what is dear.