It’s the middle of my kid’s school vacation this week. The kids are spending a portion of the week at their grandparent’s house, and a long drive to and from.
We’re also in the middle of Screen-Free Week. This used to be called “TV Turnoff Week”. We once threw together and promoted a “PC Turnoff Week”.
What’s one week when you have fifty-one other weeks in the year where kids are going to gorge themselves with screen-time no matter what? How many screens do your kids interact with. There’s the TV, the computer, the iPod, the smart phone, etc.
Managing screen time is something that parents should be doing all year long.
You can limit computer time, but they might just get on their iPod touch and play games, or text their friends on and off when they should be doing homework.
It’s a challenge to manage multiple kids and multiple screens. Have you been effective at doing this within your family, or have you thrown your hands up?
ComputerTime will do the job on your Windows PCs to reign in excessive use, and more importantly eliminate the arguments between parents and the kids, but are you using any tools to help with the other technologies in your home?
This NYT article presents the competition between the pros and cons of all of the technologies that we have at our fingertips. There’s an app for just about every kind of task you can imagine. and they can be used to help along your personal and work life.
But if you’re not consciously making sure that it’s working for you, it can own you, and before you know it, those same apps are taking away from your life.
From a family perspective, many of the ideas that are discussed from the perspective of adults can be adapted to kids as well.
You bought your kids cell phones so they can keep in touch in case of an emergency, or just for convenience. Have your kids been taken over by the cell phones? Do they text constantly to a point of being completely distracted all of the time? Have your kids turns into bad-manners-monsters because they can’t put them down even when they’re at the dinner table at the grandparents? Have technologies taken control of your kid’s reports cards?
The Today Show featured one of my favorite bloggers, Amy Alkon, talking about the trend towards more rudeness, especially with respect to us keeping our noses buried in our devices or yammering on cell phones.
People are losing awareness of what’s going on around them. They are living in a bubble caused by the portable game, iPhone, iPod, cell phone, whatever it may be.
Do you snap at your kids when you see them texting their friends at a restaurant, or around a dinner table with family? Do you ever make everybody shut off their devices in the car and make them all engage in conversation? Or are you part of the problem being a bad role model yourself, by being one of these rude citizens?
Amy’s bright and pretty down to earth. I love her directness with which she deals with other people’s rude behavior, and her vigilante style of going after people who need to have their asses kicked. Go buy her book and read it so that when you’re in a situation where no one else is willing stand up against the tyranny of the inconsiderate, you will be confident and prepared to do battle.
In three out of four of the states where studies were done to determine the laws effects, the number of crashes increased.
Could it be that the law isn’t deterring people because it’s generally a difficult law to enforce? Having phone records subpoenaed after the crash can provide evidence that you were on your cell phone talking or texting. But this law is difficult to enforce in an effort to avoid the accidents in the first place.
So, now, instead of having to keep your eyes on the road ahead of you while you’re texting, you also have to focus on your rear view mirror, and on the stationary cars on the side of the road that could be police cars that will bust you for texting. More distractions!
So if I’m injured in an accident, I’m going to sue the lawmakers who exacerbated an already dangerous situation. What do you think?
The concerns about Families and Technology extend beyond this blog. SoftwareTime is a company founded on the idea that technology affects families in many ways. Balance and responsible use of technologies is important. SoftwareTime's products will help.