A Parent’s Guide to Digital Wellness
Developing a family culture to combat digital overload
Our daily lives are a constant barrage of beeps, boops, buzzes, and dings. Our iPhone cries for attention, our laptop chirps a new email alert, and we shout at Alexa demanding to know today’s weather. We shove boots onto unwilling, tablet-holding toddlers and make multiple attempts to gain our screen-glued teenager’s attention. Mornings like these are the perfect storm for an existential crisis. What are we even doing?
Technological advances have undoubtedly made our lives easier in many ways. Long car rides might be a bit more relaxing with our middle schooler engaged in a video game or our 5-year-old watching Moana for the hundredth time. Video conferencing software allowed many across the country to attend school or work and have some sort of socialization during one of the many peaks of COVID-19.
Family schedules are coordinated and streamlined with only a few clicks. Smartphones give us a sense of security, knowing our children can contact us in an emergency. It isn’t all bad.
And then come the mornings of struggle over toddler tablets. Or the fights over dinner when our tween can’t pull away from TikTok. Or concern over our teenager staying up all night playing video games only to be falling asleep in class the next day. Our spouse or partner merely grunts when we attempt to make conversation over morning coffee.
With a plethora of devices constantly vying for our attention, family relations can feel tenuous, at best. But outside of the occasional annoyance or argument with a tech-riddled teen or spouse, what is the big deal with chronic tech use? Does it have a real-world impact on our family’s health and wellbeing?
Dangers in the Digital World
As parents, we direct most of our digital concerns towards our children. However, it is first essential to note the impact of technology on ourselves. When it comes to social media, we are not immune to the phenomenon of social comparison. You know…that one friend who seems to have it all? The perfect marriage, the perfect baby, the perfect job, the perfect body, the Hawaiian vacations, and seemingly endless amounts of money.