Be smart when managing your family's use of technology
Technology probably affects everyone’s life today. It has transformed our entire world of communication decade by decade over the last century until we are now quite, or at least partly, dependent on it to function effectively in our daily routines.
From phone communication, (talking, texting, Skype, selfies, photos) to learning and reading, to games, computers, cooking, household electronics, transportation vehicles, GPS, banking, purchasing and consuming - we are all becoming ever more dependent upon innovative technologies for our daily existence.
But, technology brings both blessings and curses to our lives, although both are certainly essential for us to keep up with the rapidly progressing world. It allows us to keep in touch no matter where we are and to be on hand in case of emergencies. It enhances our learning and sharing. It entertains.
Technology allows us to locate our destinations and get where we are going. It allows us to say to almost anyone anywhere, “thank you”, “I love you”.
But technology has also affected family life some might say "negatively" in some ways. There are times when family members are sitting at the same dinner table but are mentally distant on their cellphones, diligently texting or talking to extended or surrogate family members, friends or even business colleagues.
Technology can consume the child with games, the teen with texting and selfies, the entrepreneurial father with business concerns, and the dedicated mother with extended family members.
Technology can expand the space and time horizons of family members and can give rise to future leaders and participants of the world, but it can also isolate them from those closest to them. With technology, there is no turning back.
The only way parents can control technology is by deciding when their children are ready to adopt it. This depends on the maturity of the child and how they use the technology. Some children can use technology wisely and not be consumed by it. Technology was designed to enhance our lives but it can be all encompassing to those who do not realise its commercial and addictive effects.
Prioritising the use of technology is important. Electronic games can be practical learning tools and mind developers when used in moderation. Parents would be wise not to impose any of their own limitations upon their children because of ignorance of technology’s uses and benefits. The more balanced the parents are on its use, the more balanced the way their young will apply it.
When children or adults become distracted from their truly highest priorities in life and allow technology to govern them instead of them governing technology, it is a sign of poor governance. When they have anxiety if they misplace their phone and can’t function with back-up plans, technology is running them. It is wise to identify the highest priority uses in advance and not let impulsive activities rule.
When technology becomes addictive and compulsive people feel they can’t function or live without it. They have withdrawal symptoms if it does not work or if it is lost. It dominates their daily interaction with it. They overlook other essential activities and people who are meaningful. They lose time, energy, sleep and money.
Technology can sweep you away from normal daily life and consume your time in the imaginary world of other’s creations. Make sure the places your technologies take you to are truly important and meaningful. Take command of your time and your life by setting your own technology usage timings. Any area of your life you don’t schedule or empower, someone else will command and overpower.
Manage your and your family’s use of technology. Explain its purpose, pros and cons in advance and assist each family member in self-governance. Exemplification is the greatest teacher. Education enhances wise usage of technology. Become informed of the luring effects of virtual worlds and make sure that you and your family are aware of the two sides to technology.
Wise use of technology can expand your horizons and destiny and unwise usage can consume it. It is up to you. Be smart.
Dr. John Demartini is a human behaviour specialist, educator, author and the founder of the Demartini Institute.