It’s Friday night – do you know where your children are? No, this is not the slogan for a new horror movie that’s being released soon, but a question that has spawned parents to use texts, emails and phone calls to find out where their children are. Lots of them. A survey of more than 5,000 parents conducted by National Family Week recently found that they send 600 texts per year in an effort to monitor and keep track of their kids. According to the Daily Mail, these parents also send an average of 312 emails and make 28 hours worth of phone calls trying to connect with their kids.
It may be a lot harder for kids now to lie about their whereabouts. With GPS tracking and other technologies available, parents are becoming more savvy about keeping tabs. Twenty percent of these parents realize how much of an impact technology has on their kids’ lives and think that connecting through mobile devices, email and social networks make it easier for them to communicate more efficiently.
In addition to trying to track the whereabouts of their kids, these parents are also taking advantage of how plugged in their kids are to try and schedule more quality family time together via mobile devices. Even more so since the study found that a typical family [in England] spends less than two and a half hours together per week.
The Daily Mail quotes Nick Henry of National Family Week who commissioned the report as stating:
“It's inevitable that children get preoccupied with technology and it's only natural that they forge their own friendships and social groups as they get older. Having to contact your children and immediate family through texts, emails and social networking sites to track them down is just a consequence of modern life.”
More than three quarters of parents polled said that family life has taken a hit from technology usage. In an effort to encourage more family time together, 39 percent of parents have banned their children from bringing their mobile devices to the dinner table. Only 39 percent? Although my kids are too young to own their own cell phones or anything mobile for that matter, I can’t imagine being OK with them texting away at the dinner table, but surprisingly, 21 percent of those polled think that gadgets are “harmless” at the table.
There’s a time and place for technology and it’s becoming harder in our gadget-reliant culture to discern where that fine line is. We’re hearing more about devices at the dinner table, even devices during story time, but if technology is having a negative impact on your family life, it’s time to reassess and figure out what changes can be made for the betterment of you and your family. If your children live far away from you, then mobile devices are a boon. But if you are texting your kid while he’s upstairs or would rather send an email to find out his plans for the evening than ask in person, perhaps it’s time to give your thumbs a rest. Hopefully, by making small changes to improve and increase quality time, there will be more opportunity for face-to-face time and less wondering what your kids are up to.
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