I have a serious love/hate relationship with technology in our home.
It started with Nintendo Wii. The big sell was that we’d be active, play together and have fun belting out tunes with Rock Band. It was the gateway to Play Station 2, then X-Box, then Netflix and binge watching, not to mention computers, cell phones and iPods! AHHHH! Our kids tease my husband and I about being on our laptops in the same room playing Scrabble (sometimes with each other). Sometimes it hits me how disconnected from each other this technology is making us and I try to figure out how to get us all to step back.
But, it’s not all bad. Here are some of the positive things:
1) Texting – A lot of our texts to our teens look the same “I’m here!” “Leaving in 5 minutes!” “Dinner!” (We live in a tall skinny house, so it reduces the yelling and stair climbing). But there are the “Love you” and “Just thinking about you” texts too. The more diplomatic check-ins like “Hey, how’s your day going?” instead of asking “Um, where are you?” It leads to the inevitable autocorrect fails, like when I texted “Good luck, homey!” to my daughter instead of “honey” when wishing her luck on her Geography exam. Or when I texted the shopping list to my husband asking him to get “geese” instead of “cheese”. These texts usually result in at least a smile (and sometimes revised dinner plans).
2) Facebook – I was a late Facebook adopter. What would I even write? Do I really want to post photos? Turns out that it really does help me connect with family and friends I don’t get to see all the time. I send messages to my niece to get her perspective on things that pertain to my daughters since she’s a few years older. I request a Scrabble game with another niece and use the chat window to laugh about how crazy our board looks as we play diagonally on only half of it. I resist the urge to “stalk” my kids on Facebook but every now and then we talk about privacy, boundaries and over-sharing.
3) Twitter – When I first started on Twitter, I mostly followed parenting experts and found it a great way to reach out to them directly for advice. My tweets quickly evolved into finding the humour in typical day-to-day parenting situations rather than being frustrated or upset. My whole frame of mind changed and I took things less seriously. I embraced the chaos!
4) Blogs – There is so much information out there and communities full of like-minded people to get involved with and learn from. It can be comforting to realize you’re not alone when dealing with parenting issues. They spark thought and conversation and as often as some posts end up in heated debates, they also provide a place for compassion and understanding as we all navigate this parenting thing together.
But still, I really do need to find a way to balance the screens. Do you have any tips on managing all the technology? What are your pros and cons of being plugged-in?
About the Author:
Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.