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Sharing in the Age of Technology

As Screen Free Week 2012 approaches, Su Rubinoff shares some thoughts about some fundamental changes that electronic media have brought to our family lives.

These days, family members each have a cell phone, they do not need to share the family’s house phone.  Most homes have more than one television so teenagers do not need to share or negotiate who is going to watch what.  Often there is more than one car per household and older teens may have their own, they do not need to share or consider how their plans will fit with those of others. Most children have their own rooms, they do not need to share or cooperate with siblings.  Most teens have MP3 players so they do not need to compromise what they are going to listen to on the family stereo.  No need to discuss the volume either, with ear bud head phones in place the music and the listener are insulated from the rest of the family.  With computers too, many families now have more than one and teens have their own laptops so again, no need to share.  Computers used to be heavy and hard to move.  Now pocket size computers such as smart phones and tablets are mobile and ever present.  It is all too easy to be distracted from engaging entirely in conversation or simply enjoying the company of another.

Notice that I say, teens but in many circles these observations are just as true of elementary children as well as we, the adults.  So, with all of these individualized technological devices, how should we go about developing a social, interactive, cooperative group consciousness?

I am happy that your children are here at Meadowbrook and that we can work together to instill great values and life skills.  I would like to share this letter from a parent….

When I read about the National Screen Free Week in the LBE [newsletter] I felt compelled to contribute. As I thought about saying something I realized the most significant thing I could share is what’s at the core of our parenting practice: common sense. In our house we manage the media use in our lives by understanding its purpose and place.

Our moment in time includes a technological wave whose impact was unexpected and has moved with great speed. Unfortunately along with the positive attributes of this phenomenon came some serious, negative ones. For our family it is quite simple, we as the parents take responsibility for our child’s use of media and limit it to what we believe is engaging and appropriate. We don’t have screen time during the school week for entertainment and frankly there isn’t time for it.  We don’t use screen time to fill a void, but rather as a tool for research, learning, and communicating.

We are so pleased that our middle school child is at MWS in an environment that supports imagination and thinking through hands on experiences that enhance the spirit of the developing child and reinforce our work at home.

How are you coping with the changing media landscape in your family?  Do you have strategies to share?  Please share your comments and insights below.

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