Does tech usage in your home have a negative effect on the time you spend with each other?
how do people suggest the family balances time on their devices, do you allow complete free reign or impose limits on your children's and your own usage? would you benefit from a routine of downtime from smart devices?
3 experts have answered
Although my son is young, my wife and I work from home and notice that technology can have an effect on our relationship with him and each other.
Here are a few practices we have put in place to ensure technology doesn't have a negative impact:
No technology in the bedroom. No TV, iPad, laptop or iPhone. This gives us time to talk and unwind, instead of starting and ending the day looking at a screen.
No devices at dinner time. This can be hard, but we really try to keep them away and spend time together. As our son gets older, this will be a bigger focus.
No screen time for our son, ideally until 2, as per AAP recommendations. This is hard, but when a screen is on, he is drawn to it, so we try to keep it off.
Tech free Sundays. Gives us time to rest, read, play games etc.
Every family will have to find the right balance – it will take planning and effort – but it is well worth it!
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First of all breakfast, lunch and dinner is a family affair, we cook together, we eat together. We eat in the dining room and no TV or handheld devices are allowed to be used or looked at when we eat. The same goes for when we dine out which is at least 3 times a week.
We use our computers, ipads, laptops etc in a designated study room where we all have our own desks and even though we can easily converse with one another, the room layout provide ample private space as well.
We talk to one another and discuss what we are doing - meaning that gaming is not a big part of our lives. Editing photos, blogging and creating media content is what drives us as a family and we share our experiences and learn from one another.
After dinner, the children is allowed family TV time and then reading followed by lights out -meaning that by 6 in the afternoon, there is no more access to devices for them.
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This is a constant battle in my house with my family. As much as I would love to say that this is not a problem my family has, it really is. At times it has even strained my marriage because my wife and I will go an entire evening not talking to each other. In fact not too long ago, I got called out because while we were suppose to be enjoying a nice family walk around the neighborhood, I was on my phone checking Facebook. I will freely admit that I have tendency to get lost in the screen, but I have also noticed this behavior in my young son. This a behavior that must be changed for the good of my family.
So, to help combat this problem we have instituted a few family rules.
No technology during meals. This not only includes at the table, but else where in the house. The TV has to be turned off so that it is not distracting from family conversation.
No mobile or gaming technology 60 minutes before bed. (I am guilty of this) This time used to tell bed time stories and get prepared for the next day.
2 hour limits on gaming- 3 hour maximum. This includes Wii, Computer, and mobile devices.
No technology on family outings ( shopping, zoo, parks, etc) Unless it is to take pictures.
I have even gone as far as deleting my email accounts off my iPhone because between work and other emails, my phone would be constantly going off to the point it was distracting and stressful for me because I would lose the battle of not checking email. So now, I have email on 1 device and dedicate a couple of hours during nonwork days to check it.
It is a constant battle and individuals must be reminded daily, but it has improved our family a great deal since we have tried to set limits on technology use.