Everyone belongs to a place we call home and family, a platform we do not choose but we embrace and build memories around as we go through life. Putting aside abnormalities and other situations that may arise, family is the greatest support system that we have and with them, we know we always have people to fall back on.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of the family in society has been brought to the very forefront. People were forced to isolate and stay locked down, and we all had no option than to embrace our various families. A lot of families dealt with the pandemic together, building a bond and forced to address their various issues.
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It’s another International day of family across the world and the theme for 2021 is Families and New Technologies, examining how technologies are affecting and impacting families across the world. It focuses on the impact of new technologies on the well-being of families, following up on the theme of the 59th session of the Commission for Social Development: Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all.
Technology has become an integral part of our lives as individuals and on a daily, we are faced with the need to interact with technology to go about our daily lives. Megatrends, including new technologies, demographic shifts, rapid urbanization, and migration trends, as well as climate change, have been dramatically shaping our world. With the present state of society, we cannot fully function without the inclusion of technology in our daily lives. From our smartphones to our computers and even our home appliances, all have been built to fit our busy daily lives and help us function effectively. Despite the great help technology offers in today’s society, it has also directly affected communication and interaction amongst families. Technology increases the barriers, lessens time, and most importantly distances an individual from their loved ones.
A lot of families hardly communicate with each other through words as everyone is focused on their gadgets and has built a deeper connection with them rather than humans. Between responding to e-mails during kids’ activities, texting at meals, and constant phone time while driving, parents use technology almost as much as teens. This dynamic creates feelings of jealousy and distress in children since they now have to compete for both their parents’ time and focus.
The family dinner is a perfect example of technology affecting quality time. Traditionally a haven from the outside world and a chance to reconnect, today’s dinner is often a frenzied event where members tend to be distracted during the meal by the computer, cell phone or TV. Or, they can’t wait to finish so as to get back to these devices. Often, parents are just as guilty as the children they tend to correct for being addicted to devices.
One of the benefits of a family is that children learn the give and take of society – how to interact with other people, the importance of the individual and the group, and how to communicate. However, with the inundation of technology in all facets of life, parents run the risk of raising a generation who can’t relate to other people physically but better digitally. Children with unlimited gaming, computer, and TV time may not get enough interpersonal face-to-face interaction needed to develop proper social skills as other kids.
Many parents are not able to interact with their children face to face, so they decide to follow them on their social media pages. However, research Is Technology Creating a Family Divide by Dr. Jim Taylor figures out that most of the kids were disgusted by their parent’s disruption in their social lives. Also, he proved that children want independence to such an extent that they hate any type of ‘interference’ from their parents in their normal and social lives.
Just as media and other forms of technology are creating a divide in the family with the children viewing this division as independence and freedom from their parent’s intrusion in their social lives, and parents are also immersed in their own technological lives rather than trying to connect with their children, technology is also filling the gaps in many people’s lives.
Many teens believe in spending more time with artificial intelligence than with their family because they believe that technology is way cooler than their family and that it can help them gain more freedom and independence, but in the long run, this only brings suffering later on in life. Finding solace in technology will eventually lead to a lack of love, support, and guidance throughout life, especially during hard times.
This day provides another opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic processes affecting families. Technology is inevitable and is forever present, evolving with time, the one you have today keeps updating and upgrading or phases out tomorrow. So it is very important to let go of the technology and spend some quality time with family and make some unforgettable memories because the clock is ticking.
Understanding the pros and cons of using technology and its role in families reduces family problems and allows each member to become aware of it. With a deeper understanding, comes a more educated and knowledgeable opinion on the effect of technology and how to work around it. sHaving technology rules and regulations make it easier for parents to connect with their kids and/or each other as the case may be.
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