Digital Respons-Ability

Kids, Tech and the Holidays

The holidays are coming, which means food, music, presents…and family get togethers. I remember as a child that sometimes these get togethers were not as much full of holiday joy, but fear. Noise, lots of strangers, big bodies hovering over mine– it can be overwhelming. Even as an adult I sometimes hit a wall at these big family get togethers with the sometimes politically-charged conversations, feeling forced to make small talk and just feeling a bit adrift.

When we’re feeling stressed, anxious or adrift we seek comfort. For young children that can mean a stuffed animal, but as we age that comfort often becomes a mobile device. There is nothing wrong with the desire to self-soothe and everyone needs a break sometime—but we can’t completely shut ourselves away. Devices take more of our attention than other activities, we can’t have a full engaging conversation when interacting on a phone.

Holiday get togethers bring an opportunity for young people to socially engage. In adulthood  we are constantly engaging with strangers or those we don’t know too well, we have to learn to make small talk, and we have to converse about difficult conversations. Like anything the more you practice, the easier it gets. While the temptation may to let our children retreat when they are feeling uncomfortable, put away all the phones, look across the table and start talking.