How true it is.

We seem pretty over the top with X Boxes, iPhones, iPads, Kindles, Android phones and all the other technology we’re so enamored with these days.  Some of the grandchildren stayed with us over the weekend and we pretty much had to have them “park” the technology so they would interface with each other and with us.  Once we got them to put the electronic gear down they had a great time making a campfire, cooking hot dogs, roasting marshmallows, making S’mores, telling ghost stories, playing touch football in the front yard and engaging in all the other “old time” ways of relating as family.  Sometimes I felt like the Grinch making them put the cell phones and iPods away but in every case the resulting interaction far exceeded the initial protests.  At one point I noticed how the two seven year olds who enjoy each other immensely and get along great were spending a significant amount of time in the same room but on their separate iPads.  Maybe they weren’t really in the same room after all.  I put a stop to it, plain and simple.

There is plenty of sociological data coming in that people, especially young kids, are having a harder time relating in person and are more and more disengaged from actually relating to each other.  It’s not even all that unusual to look out on Sunday morning during the sermon and seeing people looking down at their cell phones.  I assume they are either texting or looking up something I’m saying to see if I’m accurate or not.  I saw something on T.V. the other day that showed how so many people are straining their necks and causing injury to their spines by looking down at the cell phone so much.  Pinched nerves are just the tip of the iceberg.  I saw another item that suggested parents are making a big mistake to let their children have cell phones at a younger and younger age.

What to do about it all?  That’s a good question.  There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle.  There is no use arguing about technology or taking an “anti technology” stance.  But there is plenty of use in setting boundaries with each other and with our children and grandchildren about how much actual time is spent on the cell phone or the iPad or whatever.  There is plenty of use in offering wholesome, down to earth good fun substitutes that show each other and our kids that something as simple as a campfire and telling ghost stories is a far better memory than being on the cell phone so much.  There is plenty of use in modeling with each other that actual face to face time is far better than Facetime on Facebook or whatever.

In some ways we don’t have full control over the world in which we live but in many ways we have a lot more control than we realize or utilize.  We each determine our own values and what we want to model to our children.  It takes a lot more effort to be with and relate to our children than just “occupying” them with the cheap technological substitutes.  What about you?  Want to put the X Box down and pick up the tackle box?  I’m game!

Dr Chance