How long can you put your technological comforter down for?

A city centre poster causing a stir

Now I’m going to say something some might not like; put down your technology and listen.

I know; you’re going to need your technology to read this! And anyway – I don’t actually mean listen to me – I mean listen.

Really listen. To others. To your own thoughts. To the world around. Most especially to your children.

I think it’s rather ironic that society looks down on babies and toddlers with dummies stuck in their mouths as slightly distasteful or inferior. Yet many of the adults I see use their phones and tablets as little more than something to emotively suck on and bring them similar comfort. Most especially to overcome discomfort, particularly of the social kind!

Few can look another in the eye. So they stare at their technological comforter instead.

I know these gadgets are useful – we couldn’t function without them now. But has our attachment to them crept beyond being useful, to being an addiction?

I suspect it is for many people. And I also suspect it’s impacting on relationships.

Whilst we connect to our technology so obsessively we’re neglecting something far more important: human connection. Humane connection.

We’re losing communication skills. We’re losing observation skills which help us understand each other. We’re losing time engaging with each other – really engaging, which helps us learn about human relationships and practice the skills required to make them successful, whoever they’re with.

We’re neglecting time that we could be engaged with our kids.

It is human engagement that nurtures relationships, builds care and empathy, grows love. I fear some folks are becoming desensitised to what it is to be together socially, lovingly, meaningfully, especially with regard to parenting.

Some of the human connections we encounter make us uncomfortable. So what – we have to learn to deal with that, to get over it. And to stop turning to our dummies when it gets a bit awkward. Be more courageous. And consequently build the skills for strong relationships within our families, with the wider world of people – even those we don’t know that well.

People matter. Connecting meaningfully with people matters.

Strong relationships make us happy. With each other. With our world. With the earth.

Strong relationships save the day.

Technology just keeps us busy and keeps us dummified.

How long is it acceptable for a child to suck a dummy for? How long is it acceptable for grown-ups to suck on theirs?

It’s worth talking about in your family! It’s worth building healthy habits in the family right from the start!

6 thoughts on “How long can you put your technological comforter down for?

  1. I agree with what you say Ross… I feel parents worry about their children’s tech use without looking at their own. We lead by example… the on-line / tech world can bring many great things, but it can also suck us in so much that we forget to see what’s around us. I purposefully do not have any kind of technology that can be kept on me (phone / tablet etc) I have to actually turn my computer on with an intention to use it. I feel this way my daughter understands that it is not something that invades ‘real connection’ time and that also, it is a tool. That is how we find the balance 🙂

  2. I suppose this is somewhat of an uncomfortable truth for too many, these days. The prevalence of tech has changed the world. It brings people emotionally closer together while paradoxically keeping them physically further apart. For every long distance relative who’s delighted to see you via Skype or Hangouts, there’s at least one nearby friend with whom you’re texting instead of talking. I wonder how many children these days would believe one had to walk down the street and knock on a door to find out if anyone was free to play instead of sending an instant text message? That being said, I think I’d sooner take the bad with the good. Food for thought, nonetheless. 🙂 x

    • Thanks very much for taking the time to leave your thoughts. They’re most insightful. I’d rather take the bad with the good too, but the ‘bad’ is really all down to the way we manage it! Have a good day.

  3. Hey Ross, you’re so right, technology has become far too prominent and addictive for so many of us, me too I have to admit. However it’s all balance and there are times, like at the dinner table, where the focus is on family, food and nothing more. Have I keep a healthy balance.

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