Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Devolution of Traditional Family Time

I came across this picture today whilst cruising the interwebs....

My first reactions was to laugh- then I thought-"Awwww, how sad" And finally I found that I could COMPLETELY RELATE!   I have had a full text conversation with Teenzilla while she was up in her room and I was in the living room. Watching TV. And don't even get me started on Facebook, email, online games, Ebay...you get the point. 

I guess I should have felt terrible and immediately cancelled my cable, cell phones and internet and sat down to sing Kumbayah with my kids, but obviously that didn't happen. This my friends- really is the evolution or rather DEVOLUTION of "family time", everyone in the same room, but otherwise engaged in some sort of electronic stimulus. Attention fractured, not really able to focus on any one thing, or hyper focused to the exclusion of everything else.  

I have made the rationalizations- we are all TOGETHER more or less, yeah, I am playing on my iPhone, Teenzilla is on her computer, and dad is either so immersed in whatever is on TV or also playing on his phone and The Boy is usually sitting next to one one of us watching what we are doing or also watching TV. But we are still chatting, sharing whatever we might be doing with each other, and for all intents and purposes- spending time as a FAMILY...right?? 

Let me list the ways we DO spend true time as a family together:

  1. Family meal times- 5-6 days of the week- dinner in our house is at the kitchen table- NO ELECTRONICS ALLOWED!
  2. Family Game Night- NOT Wii game night, a real board or card game 
  3. Family Nerf Gun Battles- a favorite for sure
  4. Swimming in the summer, sledding or other snow fun in the winter
  5. Football in the fall
  6. Family trips to the apple orchards and pumpkin picking in the fall
  7. Nature walks
  8. Bike rides
So we DO a lot of things that do not revolve around a screen of some sort. But I guess on an every day basis- the TV, phones, computers and iPad dominate our lives. But isn't that the way with a huge percentage of the populace? I mean- we do live in a digital world. Our whole world can be broken down into zero's and ones, formulated into HTML and fed back to us on a screen of some kind.  Yes- there really is no substitute for outdoor fun, face to face conversations, books made out of paper and held in your hands with PAGES you can turn,but sadly, these things are starting to disappear.

So yeah- it is pretty damn sad when you think about it. But changing it isn't going to happen. I guess we all just need to make sure we are still making time for these "old fashioned" family fun things, and making sure our kids can connect with other LIVE people and not just images on a screen.