This past week, I read several articles talking about ways families can stay connected and how teens rely on their parents for how to behave on the Internet and with mobile devices.
I am the role model for my nine-year old twins in so many ways, of course, it makes sense that they would follow my lead when it comes to technology. Will they spend time hanging out in front of iTunes like I do, listening to music, buying new songs, updating playlists? Probably.
But will they spend so much of their time texting their friends or updating their status when they get their own phones? Only if my wife and I do. Many parents are upset that their kids spend so much time using their mobile devices when they are supposed to be spending family time.
- Do you frequently deal with emails (work or otherwise) while your kids are right next to you?
- Do you frequently take time out to post to Facebook or Twitter when you’re with your family?
- Most importantly, how would your kids answer those questions?
The truth is, even if I think I don’t use my phone that much, if my kids perceive I do, that’s all that matters. They will learn I don’t truly value my time with them, that it is okay to prioritize our gadgets over our family. As with so many things, if my kids feel that way, whether I think so or not, that is all that matters.
Take some time to open up that discussion with your family. “Do you feel I use my ‘mobile device’ too much?” Maybe you can create a code word to help them remind you to stay with them, a code word you could then use with them when they do the same to you.
Family connectedness is extremely important, but it will take a little work on everyone’s part to help make it special.