While enjoying a rare technology free vacation at a Mexican resort recently, I was struck by the apparently distorted relationship both children and adults had with digital devices. In fact, parents were worse and it’s their fault.
Adults were “modeling” incessant technology use at the beach, poolside, in the pool, at the restaurant, etc. Basically, adults were using technology everywhere & all the time.
If you’ve ever spent a week at an all-inclusive resort you understand that you see many of the same people for an entire week and it was obvious who was addicted to the constant checking of Facebook updates, text messages, etc. I am not exaggerating when I state well over half of the adults in my line of sight at any given time were using a smartphone or tablet.
What the heck are we (adults) doing?
What the heck are we (parents) teaching our children?
A parent’s digital actions speak much louder than their words.
I appreciate using technology to communicate when needed in certain situations. And I appreciate enjoying games or being “social” with others by using technology. But choosing to use technologies should be done intentionally – not out of ‘habit’.
I recall how wonderful my vacation time with my family was. I truly, truly enjoyed them. Most of all, I enjoyed being fully PRESENT with them.
I wonder how much joy technology-distracted parents forfeited at that same resort because they felt they ‘needed’ to keep up with the latest friend request, tweet, or perhaps fear of “missing and email”?
Sad for them.
“Men have become the tools of their tools.” Henry David Thoreau
Here’s another example… at my daughter’s middle school sporting event I couldn’t help but wonder how much certain parents were missing because they were CONSTANTLY taking pictures and videos (read: they were not really ‘present’). How many pictures do you really need? How many hours of video are you going to watch? Choose how you invest your time at these events wisely.
It’s ironic that their pursuit of “capturing” the moment actually robbed them of fully experiencing it in the first place.
Parents must DECIDE and define what a healthy relationship with technology means and model that for their children:
When is it acceptable to use technology and when is it not?
For how long?
For what purpose?
Just because we ‘can’ doesn’t mean we ‘should’.