A recent New York Times article entitled, “Quality Time, Redefined,” painted an interesting picture of today’s modern day family. Rife with electronics, gadgets and gizmos, today’s family seems to be more ‘together, but separate’ than anything else. Between iPads, handheld games, laptops, Facebook, Twitter and more, is the definition of quality family time changing? It is for some.
Quoting from the article,
“One family. One room. Four screens. Four realities, basically. While it may look like some domestic version of “The Matrix” — families sharing a common space, but plugged into entirely separate planes of existence through technology — a scene like this has become an increasingly familiar evening ritual. As a result, the American living room in 2011 can often seem less like an oasis for shared activity, even if that just means watching television together, than an entangled intersection of data traffic — everyone huddled in a cyber-cocoon.”
There are many examples of similar “cocoons” across the country, with another person quoted in the article as saying that he communicates with his wife via email – when she’s sitting on the couch next to him. If she starts requesting certain projects she’d like him to do over the weekend, he immediately asks that she send him an email, stating, “It’s simply more efficient.”
Preferring to email each other when sitting on the couch together than actually using words seems to indicate a slippery slope of over-reliance on technology, no? What’s next, instant messaging each other at the dinner table asking about each other’s days? Sherry Turkle, MIT professor and author of “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other,” states that an increased reliance on technology can “increase our sense of feeling inundated and empty.”
But there are technology enthusiasts who credit the use of gadgetry as bringing them closer together. One specific example in the article is a couple who now shares times in the same room, even though they are each immersed in their iPads. The husband says, “Three or four years ago, I would have been downstairs watching TV, and she would have been upstairs reading. I guarantee that we spend 80 percent more time together because of the iPad.”
What is your family time like nowadays? Is technology helping or hurting quality time together?
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