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Take a Break from Technology Tips to Enhance Family Togetherness

7/3/2013, 6 a.m.
As access to technology increases, families may find they are spending more time on their devices and less time together.
In her book, “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other,” Turkle explores the idea that this constant need for virtual connection is leading to a gap in communication between families, and a new generation of children is unable to actually communicate and relate to their peers or parents.

As access to technology increases, families may find they are spending more time on their devices and less time together.

Some psychologists worry our growing attachment to technology may result in social isolation.

“We’re getting used to a new way of being alone together,” said Sherry Turkle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor, psychologist and author of “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.” “People want to be with each other, but also elsewhere, connected to all the different places they want to be.”

In her book, “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other,” Turkle explores the idea that this constant need for virtual connection is leading to a gap in communication between families, and a new generation of children is unable to actually communicate and relate to their peers or parents.

Ready for a Tech Timeout?

Foresters™, a life insurance provider committed to the well-being of families, recently launched the Tech Timeout™ challenge in response to a growing awareness that our attachment to digital devices may contribute to a sense of social isolation among families. Tech Timeout encourages families across North America to take a pledge to turn off their digital devices (including TVs, smartphones, video games and computers) for an hour each day for one week and connect with each other in a more meaningful way. The idea is not to eliminate technology, but to create awareness of the dependence on technology, and ultimately improve personal bonds within families.

Easy Ways to Unplug

Carving out space and time for each other can start the channels of communication flowing. Here are some activities families can do together:

Board Game Bonanza – Break out the cards, puzzles and board games for a night of old-fashioned fun.

Get Out and Play – Find a local trail and set out on a hike together. You will have a chance to interact with your surroundings and one another and be active too.

Volunteer – Volunteering can help strengthen community connections and avoid a sense of social isolation. Find a cause your family is passionate about and volunteer with a local organization.

Cook Together – Dig out your favorite recipes and try cooking as a family. Assign each person a role in meal preparation. You will not only have plenty of time to interact, your children can pick up some valuable life skills along the way.

Take a Tech-free Holiday – Family vacations are a great time to recharge and bond with your kids, but connecting can be tough if you are each plugged into your electronic devices. Fun time together will create memories your children will cherish for years to come.

Rediscover Reading – Begin a family reading hour or book club. Starting a discussion about literature will open up communication.

To take the Tech Timeout pledge, and for more tips on building stronger bonds within your family, visit www.TechTimeout.com and www.facebook.com/TechTimeout.