Electronic gadgets from television screens to cell phones have become an everyday tool for millions of people around the globe. Technology has brought us gadgets that allow us to connect to the world at a touch of a button. It has made the world a smaller place to live in. Time is no longer a constraint in communication. Technology has brought convenience in all aspects of life from banking, shopping, travel arrangements, online schooling and the list goes on. What impact has technology to family life?

The family relationship has been eroded to becoming a group of people living in the same house, sharing a genealogy or was at a moment in their lives “in love.” Many household are living together but are not spending time together. They have no meaningful conversations. They could all be in the same room but one is on the cell phone the other on the computer and the other watching television. Technology is causing our relationships to become frail. We have developed a society that is globally connected and collaborative but isolated and detached from reality.

“Americans spend 60 hours a month online. If you were to put those hours back-to-back, you’d be surfing the web for a whole month.” – Nielsen and the Pew Research Center. This is only statistics on the web. In an average American home there are at least 5 different communication gadgets ranging from, TV, Xbox, cell phone, laptop and the iPod. The world is obsessed with technology. This leaves us with little or no time to have meaningful conversations with one another; a recipe for estranged relationships. Empathy has been eroded and an antisocial behavior – individualism, has slowly crept in and is now a colossal monster in our midst. What can society then do? How can families avoid the decadence of the fundamental things that hold them together?

In any family unit communication is a key fundamental element that will hold the family together. A strong family will cause the individuals belonging to that family have the extra energy to face life’s challenges and this will indeed create a strong successful society. Technology is here to stay and will continue to evolve. We must therefore find ways and means of living with it.

Here are some suggestions on how to help in arresting the “gadget mania” and putting this colossal monster called “individualism” to flight.

  1. Create a forum where all family members will have an open discussion of what they think about the various electronic equipment within the house. Make it fun by collecting all the gadgets and putting them on a center table in front of you. Call the gadgets and address them as though you were speaking to a person.
  2. Let every member of the family speak out about what they feel concerning the family relationship. Expressing feelings and discussing problems encourages peace and harmony.
  3. Discuss on what you all think are the side effects of the gadgets towards the family unit.
  4. Collectively get to a consensus about how much time you should spend together each day and what collective activities will be done at that particular time.
  5. Create rules and enforcement measures on how to handle the various gadgets at the agreed time in (4) above. Example all cell phones must be switched off.

Together we shall have better families and a better society.

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