Do You Need To Switch Off?
Through the pervasive presence of mobile devices, we can now do most of our daily activities with the aid of a phone, a computer or a tablet – shopping, cooking, reading a map, watching a movie, listening to music, reading a book, playing a game, talking to our loved ones…
Yet the attraction of having created an entire world around our digital devices is not without some side effects. Adults report feeling tired, dissatisfied and unable to sleep, the result of technological and information overload. The use of mobile technology in places where social interaction was formerly forefront (in restaurants, at parties, with family and friends) is having unforeseen effects on our socialisation, the way we interact and enjoy each other’s company.
And children are being drawn in just as much as adults. For example, children between 5 and 16 years old are now estimated to spend an average of six and a half hours a day looking at screens. Is this a good thing? Or too much of a good thing?
Richard Graham, a consultant psychiatrist at the Nightingale hospital in London, says that the number of teenagers he’s been treating for technology addiction has climbed in the past six months, and he believes young people in particular need more “digital-free space”. Perhaps we all need it.
Creating Digital-Free Space
Technology has a strong influence in our world, future and present. The key to creating our children’s future relationship with digital technology is through setting positive boundaries, and getting the best from our digital tools. This doesn’t mean demonising technology so much as incorporating it into our lives in a way that respects the boundaries between our real and digital lives.
Here’s a helpful list of 50 different ways to unplug your family and tune into your kids.