During every holiday season we seem to hug our kids and tell them how much we love them just a bit more often. And with the tragic events in Newtown, that bit more has increased to a lot more. Connecting with our kids is the most powerful thing a parent can do.
Kids and teens will have a lot of time on their hands during their winter break from school and those new games and devices they found under the tree will be begging for all their time. How they use that time is important. Here’s a quote from the Pew Internet & American Life Project 2012 Report on the Future of the Internet that highlights that issue. “My friends are less interested in genuine human interaction than they are at looking at things on Facebook.”
I love cookies (actually my mother says it was my first word) and yet I can’t eat cookies all the time. The sugar high, the expanding waistline and a variety of other health issues keeps me from that binge.
I love technology too (my wife probably has something witty to say about this) yet I can’t, nor should I spend my life on my devices. You know the tired eyes, the expanding waistline (yep, just like the cookies) plus a variety of issues involving a lack of personal interaction.
With wrapping paper scattered near and far, and opened presents being put to the test, it may seem hard to connect with your kids. After all, they have music to listen to, video games to play and so many friends’ contact information to enter into their new phones.
If you’re home with your kids, find ways to spend time with them – talking, laughing and sharing experiences. If you choose to play a video game, make sure it’s about communicating and sharing, and not just about competing.
If you can’t be home with the kids during their entire break, think about setting some parameters for how much time they will spend on those new toys. Passive use of technology is a poor replacement for active communication, interactive play and engagement with other children or adults.
Treasure the time and closeness with loved ones that the Holidays bring! Best wishes for a Special Holiday and Happy 2013!!
Missouri ICAC Commander Lt. Joe Laramie (retired) provides strategies and solutions for law enforcement and schools to address policy and training on a variety of technology and child exploitation issues.