By Brenda L. Storey, Esq.
During one of my recent commutes to the office, I heard a radio advertisement for unlimited data for up to four lines, celebrating that each family member could watch a different show on a separate phone. Why in the world would this be celebrated?
There should be no doubt that actual family time together is good for children, as well as the parents. It is best if this time is not screen time at all, such as a sit-down family dinner, with all technology put away and actual talking with one another. If screen time is involved, it should be shared screen time, all together. I have wonderful memories of my family choosing a t.v. series that we were going to watch together each week. Look at the family bonding: We chose the series together; we all looked forward to a shared event; we enjoyed watching it together; we discussed what we had all watched before the next installment. We even had discussions about moral issues, what could have been done differently, and life lessons.
Children, and adults, are already on their social media and technology devices way too much. Not only are they losing personal social opportunities, such as verbal communication and face-to-face interactions with real humans, they are losing a special bond with their siblings and parents, as well as losing opportunities to build memories. I see no special memories from binging on a series watched all alone.
And really, why do we have children, if not to spend some special time with them, influence them directly, teach them real-world social skills, and share love? If the goal is to ignore each other, and live separate lives, a potted plant is much cheaper than raising a child, and you don’t have to pay for the latest I-phone or unlimited data.
Quite simply, you only have time with your children a brief number of years. Make the best of it. Enjoy it. Let them feel loved. Feel their love. Time is fleeting.