How is this for an evening portrait of family togetherness? Dad watches football on TV with his teenage son watching while texting beside him. Mom talks on the phone with a friend while surfing the Web on her iPad for a recipe. Brother plays on the Xbox in his room while sister multitasks while completing her homework on her laptop in between posts on Facebook.
As easy as it is to connect with someone, we have become more disconnected in our relationships. The deeper our relationship, the more intimate, enjoyable, and lasting it is, yet the technology masks feelings and muffles soul connections. It’s great for a quick connect, but not so good for a deep connection.
Jim Taylor, Ph.D., said in Psychology Today that “children who spent considerable time on a popular social networking site indicated that they felt less supported by their parents.”1
We tend to use technology as a quick fix, or a way to pacify and mask our feelings and needs, instead of facing our feelings, digging deeply, and experiencing that discomfort that will eventually get us to intimacy that everyone wants, but many don’t know how to get. If you want that deep feeling of joy, peace, and love, you won’t get there through technology.
According to research done by the A. C. Nielsen research marketing company, “the average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children.”2 With 10,080 minutes in a week, parents are averaging less than 0.4 percent of them talking to their children. If those statistics are uncomfortable, and the depth of your family relationships are lacking, there is something you can do.
Philippians 4:8 states: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (NLT).3
There are many things that you can think of about your family that makes you want to hide behind your iPhone, but in order for us to rebuild family relationships we must focus on the things that are lovely and right. Let me give you three tips to help you disconnect from technology and reconnect with your family.
1. Focus on what is good. I’m sure you can find things that are not so good about your family. What you focus on you will get, or get more of. Focus on what is good. Write down three things about your family that’s good. It may be painful at first, but try to focus on those things. Acknowledge those things in each person and be grateful about those things.
2. Find common ground. What does everyone in the family like doing that does not involve technology? Does everyone like some type of sport, or playing board games? Pick one day a week, or month when you have family day—without technology. Get to know each other again.
3. Ask questions. There is no better way to get to know someone than to ask questions. This may be a little uncomfortable if you are not used to it, so write them down. Start with just one question. If they brush you off or get frustrated, understand that it is just discomfort. Be patient. Find another time to ask a question when they are in a better mood or doing something fun.
Start with these reconnection tips, and you’ll be well on your way to reconnecting your family and connecting deeply.