May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Every week during the month of May Crossroads will post a blog focused on helping you and those you love to be mentally, relationally, and emotionally healthy. The third post for Mental Health Awareness month is, “How Do Devices Create New Challenges in Family Life?”
Family challenges and communication issues are nothing new. However, there’s no denying that we’re living in a tech-forward world. Mobile phones, iPads, computers, and other digital devices are all a part of daily life for most people—including kids and teens.
While these devices have many benefits and can keep your family connected, they also tend to bring challenges into the daily routine of your family, as well as your relationships with one another.
Let’s cover a few of those potential challenges and how you can overcome them as a family.
Digital Devices Impact Quality Time
It’s a bit ironic that devices meant to keep us connected can end up doing the opposite—especially within a family unit. Maybe you’re responding to work emails at your child’s baseball game. Maybe everyone has their phone out at the dinner table.
Or, maybe instead of doing something as a family each night, everyone goes their separate ways—your kids in their rooms with their phones, and you and your spouse in the living room, watching different videos or playing with various apps.
You can be under one roof and still have very little quality time together if you choose to spend your free time using technology.
Your Kids Might Share Less Information
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for families to communicate frequently via text or social media. You might think you’re connecting with your kids by doing that. However, a lack of face-to-face communication can cause big problems.
It can lead to weaker relationships in your family when you aren’t connecting face-to-face. Those weak relationships can create trust issues in your children. They might not be as comfortable or feel as secure as they should be. As a result, they might be less likely to open up to you and share information about their lives.
Devices Take You Out of the Present
When was the last time you put down your device and just appreciated a quiet moment? Mindfulness is one of the most popular options for people with anxiety, and there’s a reason for that. It allows you to focus on the present moment.
When you’re constantly distracted by digital devices, you’re less likely to appreciate the present. If your family members start to pick up on your lack of “presence,” they might feel unimportant or even unloved. That can create distance and allow them to assume that whatever you’re looking at on your device is more important than whatever they might have to say or share.
What Can You Do?
Do any of these situations sound familiar? If technology has taken over your family life, there are (thankfully) plenty of things you can do to get things back on track.
Consider doing a “digital detox” with your family. Get rid of your devices for a week or two. Or, if they’re needed for work or school, commit to only using them during certain hours of the day. You might be surprised by the things you come up with to do with your family instead of spending your time on phones and tablets.
You can also set boundaries and rules for digital devices at home. An easy rule to start with is no phones at the dinner table. Having dinner as a family is a fantastic way to connect and learn about what’s happening in everyone’s lives. When you’re fully present and no one is distracted by devices, the conversation will be more engaging.
Don’t be afraid to limit your family’s use of devices in ways that work for all of you. While technology has its benefits and there’s a time and place for it, it should never create a communication gap within your family.
Begin Family Counseling in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Online in Arizona
If you would like to learn how family, child, or teen counseling can help your family please reach out. Our team of therapists would be honored to help your family. We are happy to offer services from our Phoenix, AZ-based practice and across the state with online therapy. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
Other Services Offered with Crossroads Counseling
Our offices are located throughout the valley with counseling centers located in Phoenix, Anthem, online, and Scottsdale. Call us at 623-680-3486,text 623-688-5115, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation to answer your questions and better understand how we can help you. Contact us to learn more about the variety of mental health servcies that Crossroads Counseling offers. We are happy to offer support for children, teens, families, women, and men with both individual therapy and group programs. Other services offered include anxiety therapy, treatment for depression, trauma and PTSD, depression, and premarital counseling.
In addition, our team also offers affair counseling, Christian affair recovery, and couples counseling for one. Feel free to learn more about our practice by visiting our about page, FAQ, and blog, or read more about our staff members to start finding your best therapeutic fit!