Posts Tagged ‘ unplug ’

Summer Parenting Tip #5: Unplug

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Screen time is increasing for every age group – from babies to adults – and as a result face-to-face interaction goes down. So while there is nothing inherently wrong with screen time, it’s also a great idea to use summer as an opportunity for everyone to unplug for a while and, well, interact.

I’ve had many parents comment to me that they find themselves – and their kids – simply spending too much time focused on their screen. Computer, phone, TV, whatever – we all attend to the screen much more than ever. And they are finding it rewarding to simply designate an hour or two when everyone is together as a screen free time.

Same goes for kids hanging out with each other. There is a new form of communication within peer groups these days – almost everyone has a phone and uses it while they are with their friends. Sometimes they are texting others who aren’t with the group. Sometimes they are texting within the group. Again, this isn’t inherently troubling as every generation has its own technology that they use for social communication. That said, it’s also not a bad idea to ask all of them to turn off the devises for a while and just hang out with each other.

It’s not so much about losing social skills – although there is an element of that. It’s more that the human brain is wired fundamentally for social interaction. Sustained, reciprocal interaction is rewarding. Kids and adults alike can find themselves surprised at how much fun it can be to interact without someone being distracted by a text or someone needing to check something out online. We all spend plenty of time doing that. The reality is that it can be rewarding to go out of your way to find times and contexts where we all unplug for a while and just talk and laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

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