Imagine for a moment a twenty-first-century dinner; delicious food and drinks spread across the table, television playing in the background, and smartphones conveniently placed beside each plate. While technology tends to take the blame for disconnected family dinners, the picture isn’t always so black and white. The truth of the matter is that technology can be used as a tool to bring families together, just as easily as it can be used to pull them apart.
The key lies in family attitudes toward technology use. If you view technology solely as a distraction and addiction, then the effects will appear negative. However, if families embrace technology as a tool for communication and fun, the effects are much different. With all of the negative press that surrounds technology, it’s important to keep in mind the positive ways in which it can affect your family as well.
As your family gets older, chances are that loved ones will disperse, which can make staying connected quite the challenge. Fortunately, technology is the perfect tool to maintain contact, no matter the distance. Group chats, whether text or video-based can create the illusion of a family get-together since every member can contribute to the conversation.
While those against technology may argue that texting is an impersonal form of communication, statistics indicate otherwise. One study found that parents felt closer to their children when utilizing texting as a communication tool, and over half of teenagers agreed. Some teenagers even admitted that texting allowed them to communicate more easily with their parents. Without the intimidation of a face-to-face interaction, teens were able to freely express their emotions and open up to their parents in ways they couldn’t before.
In an ideal world, your teenager would feel comfortable communicating with you in person. However, sometimes teenagers can find it difficult to find their voice and texting can help.
There’s also no denying the fact that it can be challenging for younger generations to bond with older ones, especially when it comes to technology. However, just because older generations have a hard time grasping the concept of certain technologies, it doesn’t mean they can’t learn to enjoy them.
One of the most popular ways for grandparents, grandchildren, and everyone in between can bond is through video games. The simplest form of which is Nintendo Wii. It’s so easy to use that grandparents will have no problem picking up the remote and bowling with their grandkids.
Video games are not only a great way to bridge the generational gap, they also can improve social skills, relationships, and contribute to child development – which is a win-win-win in our books.
Of course, there are times when technology is a burden in a household and should be put away. However, many other times technology can be used as a tool for growth, fun, and bonding. It can be difficult to stay in touch once families move away and even harder to find common ground between generations. When utilized in a positive manner, technology is the perfect tool to bring your family together.
While you may want the dinner table to be a tech-free zone, consider embracing it once the meal is over. It could be just the thing you need to bring your family closer together and have some fun while you are at it.
Kali Muir is an ambitious freelance writer with a BA in Communications. She was born in Canada but has since lived in Norway, Denmark, and England. Her work experience is as diverse as her past addresses, including roles in technical communication, corporate communication, marketing, and article writing. She has experience working in varied business sectors: Oil & Gas, Engineering & Technology, Clothing & Equipment Retail, and Creative Writing. Follow Kali’s professional and personal journey at www.kalimuir.com, or connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.