Common Sense Media has released a series of PSAs featuring Will Ferrell as a distracted dad for their #DeviceFreeDinner campaign. It’s a shame we have come to a point where we need a series of PSAs to remind us to connect in person especially with our families. Unfortunately, many parents, including myself, need to do better.
In one PSA, the daughter is sharing about her day and the dad is so distracted by his phone he replies, “Good for you son.” That one stung. I have also been in more than one situation where one of my sons is sharing information and I just nod or say, “okay” because I’m checking email or browsing social media. I didn’t even know what my child said. Even though I am physically present, I am mentally somewhere else.
It’s not only dinner where we need to do better; we also need to need to be both physically and mentally present in other areas of our children’s life. We can’t help with homework, watch our child play a sport, or attend a school event without checking our cell phone. Other devices also become a barrier. We are glued to our tablets and television instead of being tuned in to our children.
What’s worse is we are modeling this behavior for our children. They will follow right behind us and spend more time talking with ‘friends’ online than engaging with people in person. Technology has helped us immensely but we shouldn’t be so connected to our devices that we become disconnected from our children.
HealthyChildren.org powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics has a resource on their site to help families create a family media plan. I know I need to do better and I challenge other parents to do the same.