The Digital-Diet

“Your cellphone has already replace your camera, alarm clock, and calendar. Don’t let it replace your family too.”

 

In today’s society, everything is accessible through a touch, tap, or swipe. Whether you are an adult or child, the additive qualities of technology is a consuming part of everyday life.

On average, the typical teenager spends over 27 hours using technology per week. When you consider the amount of time spent sleeping, eating, at school, doing homework, or on extra curricular activities, the amount of time children and adolescence spend with their family has being drastically undervalued.

So why is this happening?

According to graphs.net, children are among the most targeted demographic for smart-device companies such as Apple. Shockingly, nearly half of this population of children have yet to enter kindergarten!

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So what does this say about the family?

Theorist John Bowlby explained that the early relationships a child has with their caregivers plays a major role in their development; which continues to influence their social relationships throughout life. He explained that, if an infant’s family is consistently dependable and available, the child will develop an attachment bond that allows them to feel secure enough to explore the world around them.

But what if the child’s focus is away from the parents?

Today’s children are so consumed by technology, and as a result these necessary attachment relationships are at risk for being strained and weakened. Alfred Bandura believed that children can learn new information and behaviours by watching and observing other people. So when a child is spending more time on their tablet than with their family, what happens? When technological interactions are more frequent then human ones, how does the child develop?

Plainly, when the child doesn’t receive the proper exposure to their attachment figures, they are at risk for under-developing the appropriate social skills and emotional development that play a crucial role in how they interact with the world. In other words, when technology acts as the role model for emotions, social interactions, and communications, children are at serious risk of missing out on and lacking the key elements that make them human.

So what should be done?

The “Digital-Diet” has become a trend among many families in North America. Families are beginning to lock away all forms of technology and spending more time on what really matters: each other.

The Holderness family are one of many families who have experienced the benefits of putting away the technological distractions and focused on enjoying time with one another.

 

After completing a weekend of no technology, the family had spent more quality time with one another, and it was evident to both parents that it was a completely different experience than what they were used to.

“We even invented a game! Ya, that’s how much time we had! It’s amazing how much time you have when you’re not staring at you’re phone!”

Mr. Holderness also explains that, for the first time, both of his children were successful in riding their bikes, explaining that because he gave them his “full attention” they were able to travel a lot farther on their own. More importantly, the children were able to have a hands-on, concrete experience with their parents! (And based on the reactions in the video, it was a really beneficial thing for them to do).

Digital diets need to become a more common occurrence among families. Children need the real life experiences with family members in order to develop the necessary bonds that help them to thrive in life. Kids like the Holderness children would benefit greatly from experiencing a life without technological barriers standing in the way of their interactions as a family.

But it doesn’t end with children! Today’s society needs a dose of the real world! It’s time for us all to drop a few technology pounds and start digital dieting!

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{For more information on “Digital Diets”, you can listen to Jennifer Daniels and her point of view on why it’s something for all of us to try.}

 

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