Put down the phone: How technology is making us cranky
New feeds. Email. Social media posts. They are at our fingertips. Many of us can’t make it through an hour without checking our phones or tablets. Even background noise from TV will pull at our attention.
Have you ever thought about how it impacts you? Many have. They label these conveniences as distractions and interruptions. And those things make us cranky.
Are you guilty?
We are busy. Ever find yourself reviewing email or texting during a little league game? Your kid gets up to bat and the parent sitting next to you nudges you and says “hey, your son just hit a double!” But, you missed it.
Do you peruse Facebook while eating lunch with your kids? They are chatting away about their day. Suddenly the room goes silent. You’ve missed all the highlights. All you get is the “nevermind.”
Can’t go to bed without checking your cell phone? Might want to reconsider. There’s a new ‘hangover’ that we face. According to a study done at Michigan State University, those who used their phone after 9pm were noticeably more tired the next day.
Behaviors may surprise you
Being among family allows us to put our guard down. Families see behaviors that other people may not see. A study was done to observe parent’s reactions to kids when their cell phones are grabbing a parent’s attention. The behaviors will surprise you. Sharp responses such as “just a minute!” are said without even thinking. When someone is trying to get your attention, that may seem like the interruption. As a result, we may get annoyed and frustrated. The feeling can be projected to your kids.
Set it down
You may have grown up in a house where the TV was turned off during dinner time. Was the phone answered past 9pm? Even in today’s connected world, these rules still hold a place in society.
Set phones down in the morning. Start the day off being together. It might be the only time of day you’ll all be in one spot. Consider making your big family meal breakfast rather than dinner.
Bedtime is that magical time to connect with your kids. Set aside tablets and devices and go in to say good night to your teens as well as tuck in your littlest ones. Kids tend to relax in the evening. The best conversations can come when the day is winding down.
Give your kids your attention
Committing to dedicated times of day where you are unplugged gives priority attention to your kids. Be a role model that shows respect of other’s time and presence. Face to face interaction is being replaced with text conversation and social media newsfeeds. Teach your kids the proper etiquette of conversation: eye contact, active listening and respectful responses.
Spending time as a family is more than residing in the same house at the same moment. Putting aside the outside world and focusing on what’s inside the walls of your home can improve relationships. Kids learn empathy and compassion with conversation. Trust will be built. Confidence levels will rise as kids recognize the value they bring to the family discussion. They also learn how non-verbal reactions can be interpreted.
Being ‘in the moment’ takes conscious effort. Set aside the noise of social media and text message interruptions. Put your attention to the eyes sitting next to you. Chances are they are longing for it.