Four Tips to Minimize E-Distraction in your Family
"For the hundredth time, put that iPad away!"
With so many electronic devices in our homes -- from texting, to games, to surfing, to checking e-mail, to downloading a new cool app -- there are many e-distractions to keep busy individuals occupied and sometimes overwhelmed. Author Daniel Sieberg has found some sobering research on the extent of digital intrusion into our lives and especially our families, and he's written the first self-help book to address America's newest addiction. In my own family, we have three laptops, an iPad, iPhone, and two iPods available - and with wireless internet, the temptation to indulge is very strong.
If you're finding that your family, especially the younger ones, are spending too much time on their electronic devices, here are four tips to control unwanted behavior:
1) Set a time limit
It's fine to spend time online, but there have to be constraints. Consider budgeting a fixed time every week - like Wednesday afternoons - for your child to play their games or do non-structured work on their computer. The rest of the time, if any, is solely devoted to homework or educational programs.
2) "Chill out"
Sieberg suggests this solution: "The next time your son or daughter comes to the dinner table with a smart phone or iPod or laptop, try putting it in the fridge during the entire meal. It won't do any harm to the device. Then serve it as the final course, after the dessert."
2) Encourage the idea of "no-heads-down discussions"
Sieberg offers another solution: "If your son or daughter (or husband or wife) won't take the time to make eye contact and look up while talking, then simply stop the conversation until they do. It's important to keep face-to-face contact - make it a household rule that no one is allowed to be looking down at a gadget or a computer while having a conversation."
4) Family Night
Consider doing games night, meeting night, or family fun night once a week - this is a time for you to focus on family activities, turn off all electronic devices and have other fun. Children of all ages can participate in board games, charades, baking cookies or muffins, decorating scrapbooks, or a night out playing minigolf, going bowling, taking a nature walk, or visiting the park, beach, or pool.
For much more information about Daniel Sieberg and The Digital Diet: The 4-Step Plan to Break Your Tech Addiction and Regain Balance in Your Life visit http://www.danielsieberg.com/. For your own copy, visit http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Diet-4-step-addiction-balance/dp/0307887383 (print) and http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Diet-addiction-balance-ebook/dp/B004J4WM3G (Kindle)