The front page of the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times today (May 1, 2011), shows a family of four sitting on a couch, mom, dad, son and daughter each on their own electronic device. The article titled “Quality Time Redefined” by Alex Williams, explores both the pros and cons of families spending time together yet each “plugged in” to their own device.
It is a very interesting article which discusses the effects on couples as well as families with teens and older children. They could have been talking about my family. When we are together nowadays, all four of us are on any combination of laptops, iPads and iPhones. The biggest con is that it is often difficult to get everyone’s attention. However, one of the biggest benefits, is that anytime anyone sees anything of interest online, they share it with the rest of us. I love those moments of sharing, because they can be about almost anything and then we continue to have that shared knowledge.
Whether we like it or not, electronics are not going away. I try to demand no phones during meals or movies watched together, but my sons still glance down to see if they have any texts. It is a new digital world, and for the most part, having access to information, media and people is a good thing. Each family has to set its own guidelines. Just make sure you try to look for all of the great ways that being connected can bring your family closer together.