The traditional family dinner in Michigan doesn’t look the same as it used to. Instead of home-cooked meals and fun discussions about the day, many families find themselves grabbing bags of fast phone in between text messages and social media notifications. This brings up an important question: Are cell phones hurting your family relationships? If so, what are some steps you can take to strengthen your family bonds and get back on the right track? Let’s explore the impact cell phones have on modern-day families and what you can do to adjust that.
The Transition Of Social Engagement
Phones and other forms of technology give people constant access to friends and family members from around the world. For children and adults alike, this shifts social engagement outside of the household and into the digital realm. As tempting as it may be to check emails and texts at home, doing so takes away from your time with the family. Real bonds aren’t established on Facebook. They’re made in person, at home with the ones you love.
Cell Phones And Social Media Are As Addictive As Drugs And Alcohol
Every time you get a notification from social media or a message from someone you love, a small amount of dopamine is released in your brain. This is the same chemical that gets released from drugs, alcohol, gambling, and more. With a cell phone on hand, you have constant access to an addictive substance – one that many people don’t acknowledge as truly addictive. This isn’t to say that it’s wrong to have a phone, but you need to recognize when it has consumed too much of your life. That’s when you need to take a step back and re-evaluate the role technology plays in your family environment.
Setting Healthy Boundaries For Cell Phone Usage At Home
Cell phones are fine in moderation. They are great for emergency situations, and they do provide extra opportunities for social engagement. Like any addictive product though, they should only be used in moderation. Here are some tips for setting healthy boundaries in your family:
- No phones at the dinner table. Leave your phones in other parts of the house on silent while eating dinner as a family. (Yes parents, that includes you!)
- No phones during family bonding activities. If you are going out together as a family or watching a movie at home, put all of your phones away to spend time with one another. You can bring one phone in the car if you like in case of an emergency.
- Talk about special events before posting them on social media. Your family should find out about big events in your life directly from your mouth, not from a general post you make online.
- Set a “bedtime” for your cell phones. This limits the amount of time you spend on your phones and ensures you all get a sound night of sleep.
Talk to your family about reducing cell phone usage in your household and see how much of a difference that makes in your personal relationships.