How many famlies have more electronic devices than people? It’s not hard to be swimming in a digital sea in today’s culture. Americans appear to worship the latest upgrade, willing to wait overnight in lines just to get the next version of an iphone or ipad. Finding balance in the digital age is incredibly difficult, and some families feel overwhelmed when it comes to finding ways to disconnect their children from their digital devices.
When you live in West Texas and melt in the heat, it’s even easier to stay couped up inside and wired in. It’s a natural protection against heat stroke and a way to keep boredom at bay. With record heat and day after day in the triple digits, it gets even more difficult to ask our children to set aside their digital devices and find something to do that doesn’t involve being wired in.
Despite the convenience of our digital devices and the tendency to keep our children entertained, limits are important to set.
How do you know you’ve achieved a good balance between being wired in and being electronically-disconnected? Every family is going to have a different answer, but some general guidelines might be to talk about the use of the devices with the family.
Making a list of all the electronic devices you have and keeping an electronics diary where each family member charts his or her usage will let families get a handle on just how wired in every one is and whether there’s a need to redefine the frequency and duration of use.
Being wired in is part of our new reality. It opens the world up to us, allows us to connect to people on the other side of the world, lets us know we are not alone. It has a lot to offer our children and may even be working to rewrite their brains. Teaching our children how to incorporate being wired into the world while not being ruled by it is a very important skill to learn, and it’s one that should be practiced for a portion of every day, where we walk away from our phones, our computers, our electronic toys, and interact with the world in a non-digital way.