My husband creates video & mobile games for a living. Yes, he really does. We created a business almost 18 years ago that requires him and I to be on electronics a huge portion of our day. This “passion” of his has allowed us the freedom as entrepreneurs to be home with our kids since the day they were born. Can you imagine growing up in a home with Mommy and Daddy around all the time? This was a dream and a vision we had both manifested for our family.
Technology has always been a part of our lives throughout our 22-year relationship. Of course, just like in any situation, we needed to learn how to become mindful of our well -being, but there is no escaping it, screens are a part of our lives on a daily basis now more than ever. In “today’s” world, I often work with parents who are so worried about the impact of technology on their relationships. They worry all day long that their family members, mainly kids, are addicted to modern technologies.
People everywhere complain and write articles that kids today can’t have a real conversation with other humans and they never will be able to communicate properly. They really do believe this is true, so they actually manifest it to BE true for them in their experience.
I can really understand how many people would read these articles and instantly agree; which is why I am writing today to share my side of this story.
I completely DISAGREE. First off, a belief is just a thought you keep thinking & repeating over and over again. We create our reality so if we believe this to be true, it is. In our family, since we have a great appreciation of technology and we understand that it takes awareness and intention to live in this world, we are the ones who get to choose how technology impacts our lives. It is a tool just like anything else. We can decide how we use this tool. Think about Google; we have the ability to SEARCH for whatever we want. We decide what we tell it to look for. If we focus on negative, it will reveal negative results, if we focus on positive it will reveal positive results.
At the end of the day our biggest dream is to establish wonderful meaningful connections with each other and our children. I am a Momma to 2 amazingly mindful daughters who are 10 & 12. Our connections to each other and our own inner beings is a huge part of our family. Our girls are not addicted to anything. They have had access to screens all their lives. We do not fear or limit anything related to usage, however, we are extremely mindful of where we focus our attention. This includes what type of media we consume and apps/games they play. Since they were little we have been very mindful of what they watch and since part of our family core values focuses on Nonviolence this is most important in our lives.
I am not saying let them do whatever they want, as a parent we are their first transformational coach, guide and leader. We can gently guide them with love. We also do not believe in using their favorite activities or technologies as negative consequences to teach anyone a lesson. This is not something that is useful in the “real” world. As grown ups, we are taught to respect one another and work together to communicate in order to get our needs met. This is how we treat our children.
We believe in communicating with them and educating them rather than limiting and scaring them. We let them know of the effects of screens on our muscles, our eyes. We do body checks where the girls and us know it’s time for a break or some jumping jacks, or a game of tag, etc. This is a skill they can use the rest of their lives that will add to their well-being. If we simply say NO without teaching them anything, that is where our troubles begin. Also, “monkey see, monkey do.” Where and how we spend our time, models for our kids what they can or cannot do. How much time do we spend on the phone, tv, or on our devices? How often do we sit for hours and watch Netflix without taking breaks? (We don’t even have Netflix yet, but people always tell me they “binge” watch shows on there.)
Our girls love to play games of all kinds and they use their iPads, iPhones, etc. daily. Sometimes THEY are the ones inspiring us to “take a break” off electronics and go play and be PRESENT. It is a subject near and dear to our hearts to share this type of message. So many fearful articles pull at our heartstrings trying to convince us that it is necessary for us as parents to limit things in order to establish connection and stay connected. This is not our reality in our family, technology adds to our connection.
Please keep in mind every single one of us only can read this or hear of this article via a screen. Ironic right? It would be hard to explain in a small comment how connections in our family have worked but I can assure anyone who wants to know that connection, heart based love and mindfulness does not begin ever with fear and/or limitations. Our girls, who are NOT limited, make beautiful choices and will even choose to talk or look out their window in the car or play toys or invent a game based on scenery while driving rather than be on any screen.
“Through video games/apps and technology, I have learned: reading, spelling, math, engineering, science, photo editing, physics and more.” ~Isabella Sara Balodi, Age 12
We can really empower our children and create the closeness we dream of by learning to trust and remind them of their divine selves. We can model healthy habits and learn what feels best to each other and create connections with screens and without screens. Some of our best family times are playing games, which sometimes involve screens and sometimes do not. As a family we often connect and cuddle watching HGTV & Food Network together, etc. 🙂 then after we may play a board game. It is all about balance. ????Connections are based on love and awareness. You cannot become connected to anyone by criticizing, scaring or threatening him or her.
It is a different time and we are all learning how to integrate new ways of life into our homes. Technology is not going anywhere. It’s here and it’s a part of all of our lives. We can learn to embrace it, respect it and learn to apply mindfulness to it just like any other scenario in our lives. If we focus on gratitude and all the ways technology adds to our lives, we would have a much easier time teaching our kids about it. There are so many ways we connect and enjoy technology, but here I will share just 5.
5 Ways Screens & Technology Actually Brings Our Family Closer Together:
1. Texting each other – We love connecting & sending funny or loving messages and emojis. We love to check in with each other and sometimes we even text each other while we are all in the house. My oldest has an iPhone and texts me from the back seat while we are in the car! It’s not INSTEAD of talking, we do that too, it’s in addition to it.
2. Games – We like to connect & play turn based games such as: Draw Something or Scrabble, we play (& sometimes help create) Daddy’s Mobile games (Ultimate Arcade Games)
3. Set Alarms & Reminder Notes – This helps me remove concerns, tasks, etc. and stay present and aware so we can play board games or cards, hide and seek, or go outside to play and ride bikes at the park. Our daughters set alarms to remind them of things they want to do that day or even daily affirmations.
4. LEARNING – The second our girls have a question we can simply Google it, or ask Siri so we can learn together. They can access knowledge 24/7.
5. Facetime/Skype – We love to use Facetime on our iPhones while one of us it out or at the grocery store and we can see each other whenever we want (as long as there is a good connection) or if I am at an all day event, I can call and see our family LIVE in real time.
Let’s all Raise Our Awareness and focus on all the ways technology adds to our well-being. Thinking technology interferes with our relationships is like thinking cars should be limited because we can drive away from our loved ones. If you desire connection you must know that it has to be based on LOVE, intention, communication and mindfulness. Anything can divide us or bring us together, we are the ones who make either option possible.
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