Yesterday I wrote a post about Facebook & Google+ and what the “new kid on the block” might mean to the future of Facebook. As I was thinking, writing, and reading the comments, there were thoughts in the back of my mind like, “Do we really need another social medium that is going to distract me, my kids and my family?” As a parent of 3 young adults (22, 19, 16), Facebook is a dominate medium in our family. My kids are on it all the time!
Because of the Facebook reality, the title of the blog on the Orange Leaders site definitely captured my attention (“Is Facebook Killing Your Family?”). It was an easy click-thru for me and I devoured the content. Here’s a snippet:
So, what’s the deal with technology? Is it good? Bad? Indifferent? Inevitable? How is it impacting your family, and what can you do about it?
Here’s what we discovered. Only 35 percent of tweens and teens feel emotionally close to their dads, and only 59 percent feel emotionally close to their moms. Those were just two of the findings we uncovered a few months ago when Orange partnered with the Barna Group to commission an unprecedented survey of over 400 families—asking both parents and teens about their use of technology and its impact on relationships in the home.
Alarming as that statistic is, is it really Facebook that’s killing your family? The study suggests that maybe the answer is “no.” What if technology isn’t good or evil, but simply reveals and amplifies what’s already there?[READ the entire post here]
Because Cathy and I have been in youth ministry for so long, we made conscious decisions to limit the technology influence so it wouldn’t dominate our lives. For example:
1. We didn’t have any type of gaming systems in our house as our kids were growing up. Because of the age of our kids, gaming wasn’t as big back then as it is today, but we just didn’t want it to consume us. A couple years ago we purchased a Wii system that we’ll use when friends are over and it’s a total blast.
2. During the school year, we didn’t watch TV from Monday thru Thursday. School nights consisted of sports’ practices, dinner, homework, church, etc… but, not TV.
3. We were late to the game in allowing our kids online and very late to get them a cell phone. We always got the line, “I’m the only 8th grader at school who doesn’t have a cell phone.”
4. Cathy and I don’t use our mobile phone, in the car, when our kids are with us (that’s what voice mail is for).
5. Even now, as our kids are older, we have to say, “no phones” at the dinner table or in restaurants. I wish we didn’t have to remind anyone, but the temptation is always there to check.
Bottom line, Cathy and I have had to make several unpopular decisions with our kids to make sure “family wins” in the battle between media/technology & family. I’m not suggesting this is what others should do with there families…it’s more sharing the practices of the Fields’ family. We may be wrong in what we’ve done, but at this point in our parenting, we don’t have regrets.
Question: What are your media boundaries? Share your thoughts here