It’s a typical Tuesday night—Dad is watching TV, the kids are playing Minecraft and texting, and you’re emailing a friend. Today’s families may be spending more time together physically but they aren’t connecting emotionally. It’s a growing problem and there are some psychologists who worry that our attachment to technology may result in social isolation.
“We’re getting used to a new way of being alone together,” said Sherry Turkle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, psychologist and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. “People want to be with each other, but also elsewhere, connected to all the different places they want to be.”
Turkle explores the idea that the constant need for a virtual connection is leading to a gap in communication between family members, and a new generation of children is unable to communicate and relate to their peers or parents.
To help families re-connect Foresters, a life insurance provider committed to the well-being of families, recently launched the Tech Timeout challenge. Tech Timeout encourages families across North America to take a pledge to turn off their digital devices (including TVs, smartphones, video games and computers) for an hour each day for one week and connect with each other in a more meaningful way. The idea is not to eliminate tech, but to create awareness of the dependence on technology, and ultimately improve relationships within families.
If this looks familiar, your family may need a tech timeout:
If you need inspiration to bridge the digital divide in your family try these fun activities you can do together:
Board Game Bonanza — Turn bored into board games! Break out the cards, puzzles, and games for a night of old-fashioned fun.
Walk and Talk — Go for a family hike on local trails. Not only will you interact with nature, it’s the perfect opportunity to catch up on conversations.
Volunteer — Find a cause your family is passionate about and volunteer! Volunteering can help strengthen community connections and avoid a sense of social isolation, all while doing something good.
Make A Meal — Dig out your favorite recipes and have some fun in the kitchen. Give each person a role in the meal prep to create a culinary delight you can enjoy together. You will not only have plenty of time to interact, your children will pick up some valuable life skills along the way.
Take a Tech-free Holiday — Family vacations are a great time to recharge and bond with your kids, but connecting can be tough if you are each plugged into your electronic devices. Fun time together will create memories your children will cherish for years to come.
Rediscover Reading — Begin a family reading hour or book club and discuss the books you’re reading. You can chat about characters, find out who loves fiction, and discover a new found love of literacy.
This is proudly sponsored by our friends at Foresters.
Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark. Tech Timeout and the Tech Timeout logo are trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters.