Plugged In and Tuned Out
Dr. Ducharme’s Blog for March 4, 2013
I have written about the use and abuse of computers and cell phones with kids. But, today I thought I would talk about how we adults use and abuse this same technology. Take a look around you…wherever you are. How many people are using some form of electronic communication? First, there is the safety issue. People are actually getting hurt because they are walking and testing at the same time. They are crashing into poles, each other and even walking into traffic without looking. At work, we often send an email to a colleague instead of getting up and going to speak to them. Yes, it may be more efficient. But it also keeps us sitting on our derrieres and eliminates the human contact. Airports are amazingly plugged in places. Everyone is doing their own thing…talking on the phone to someone, but not talking to the person sitting next to them. In spite of laws and pledges against using cell phones while driving, most of us still use our phones while in our cars. It seems like an efficient, though often dangerous, use of time. I know I often talk to my kids on my way home from work (hands free, of course!). But think of what this is like for young kids driving in the car with a parent who is plugged in to a friend and tuned out from their children. I used to really like time in the car with my kids. We had lots of discussions, listened to music, sang songs, played games like GHOST and in general had together time. So much is lost. Add to this the fact that so many cars now have DVD players so kids can watch movies while driving and we may recognize that we are losing the art of conversation. I think this is really sad. I would like to propose that parents try for at least one week to avoid talking on the phone while driving with your kids. Unplug the DVD and ban electronic games from the car. I suspect it will be difficult at first. But, please give it a try. And let me know how it works. If we want our kids to be able to talk to us as they grow up and face difficult situations we need to create an atmosphere that promotes communication and helps them engage in meaningful conversations.