With the holidays fastly approaching, we should really consider how we connect with our family and friends this holiday season. By now, we are all learning how to live wth the threat of COVID-19 while taking precautions to limit our exposure. At the same time, we may also be retreating into our own worlds although we are with others.
Do your family dinners revolve around everyone staring at their phones and ignoring your attempts to talk? If you let it run rampant, technology can interfere in the family bonding and create challenges in your relationships.
Although you can’t hide from technology, you can keep it from driving a wedge between you and your loved ones.
Try these strategies:
Establish technology rules for meals. One of the biggest complaints among couples, roommates, and families is the interference of technology during meals at home.
Meals may be one of the few times you see your spouse or family members during the day. However, Smartphones, tablets, and other devices distract them from having conversations and interacting.
One of the easiest ways to handle technology during meals is to ban it from the table. Encourage your family members to check their phones and take care of messages before they sit down to eat. Here are a few suggestions to consider.
Check out my personal unplug box above in the photo, get a personalized family box you can put at the end of the table that may transform your family’s time together. Also if you are short on conversation try asking a few of these dinner questions everyone can answer. But my favorite is Questions to Start Great Conversations.
Once they’re at the table, they should avoid technology and keep their phones in another room. This will reduce the temptation to check them. You can also ask your family to turn off the sound on their phones, so the meals aren’t interrupted.
Create technology rules for bedtime. The interference of devices with bedtime is another frequent issue. These devices interfere with sleep habits and make it more difficult to settle down.
Make a rule that doesn’t allow devices to be used once a person is in bed. This is particularly helpful for dealing with children who like to play on their phones or read from tablets while in bed.
You also want to avoid using technology at night and replace it with real conversations. The evening provides an important opportunity to discuss important topics and spend quality time with your partner. There’s a table topics for couples too.
Establish rules for passwords. Passwords can create issues in relationships among couples and family members who share them.
First, create password rules for your children. It’s important to teach them about password safety and security. Depending on their age, you may want to request copies of their passwords to monitor how they use technology.
Couples who share passwords with each other also need to establish boundaries. You may not be comfortable sharing every password with your spouse, and it’s important to address it. In addition, you want to ensure that your passwords aren’t shared with strangers, friends, coworkers, or other family members, for security purposes.
Create social media rules. Technology extends to social media and it affects multiple aspects of your life.
Your first priority in your rules is to keep safety and your family’s well-being in mind. Family members need to be aware of the data they share online. Personal information such as addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts, and more don’t belong on social media. Millions of consumers per year experience identity theft so be careful.
Families often use social media to interact with each other. Although it’s convenient and easy, you also want to ensure face-to-face interactions and normal conversations still occur. Social media can’t replace these human contacts.
Social media can create a temptation to cheat and ruin a relationship. Before you or your partner use social media, be aware of the temptations that exist.
It’s also important to be aware of how sharing and tags work on different social media platforms. Your pictures, ideas, and words can be shared by others, so you want to be careful about the information you post.
Technology can be a source of interference in your relationships. However, by following these tips, you can prevent the interference without hurting your family or friends.
Coach Anna McCoy
Helping everyday entrepreneurs win in life and business!