How can modern families adapt to these changes and gain back some quality family time in a connected world?

Cape Town – There’s been amazing progression, or evolution, when it comes to social media and mobile technology.

A quick flip back to 2000 and we were in an era where picture messages on Nokia phones were the pinnacle of social technology.

These new forms of communicating are transforming in front of our eyes, but already there has been a marked change in how families interact. Before the social media and mobile revolution there was only one screen in the house, now there’s one for every member.

How can modern families adapt to these changes and gain back some quality family time in a connected world? Here are some easy tips to follow to get quality time back.

Take back the living room and kitchen

Designate certain areas in the house as no cellphone zones. The best areas to call no usage zones would be the family areas such as the lounge and kitchen. Creating certain areas for technology around the house is vitally important. Make a certain area in the house the charging zone, just not in the bedroom as this encourages late night use. Instilling these changes will create results and help change the family’s mind-set over time.

Start practising restraint together as a game

The skill that you need to hone as a family is restraint. The best way to learn is to make it fun. An example of this would be pile game. Each family member places their phone into a bowl at the dinner table. The first person to pick up the phone loses, the punishment can be simply washing the dishes or to do a little song and dance. Whatever you decide remember you could be the loser.

Have a quiz night without Google

You might remember a time when the answers weren’t all available at Google. But your children might not remember. Make one night a week into a quiz night. Ban all use of cellphones and start answering some obscure questions. Quizs are great at bringing people together and your family is no different. Just remember to Google the answers after the night is done.

Start to limit yourself before limiting others

Taking the steps suggested above is great, but if you’re not applying the rules to yourself then you won’t see any change. To curb your addiction to your phone you should first programme a long screen lock password to stop you tinkering with your device. Another quick and easy tip to use your device less is to stop all push notifications on your phone. The less it beeps the more time you get with the family.

Don’t be a technophobe – embrace the change

All of these steps are meant to reduce the use of technology in the presence of family members. It’s not meant to be a list to totally blackout it out. Start to develop a family events where you come together to use technology. Schedule a weekly Skype call with a relative and have them come to the table on a mobile device, allow them to partake in conversations as one of the family. This is a new way of instilling the idea that one’s presence is the most important in modern society, even if they are on a mobile device.


* Godfrey Madanhire is a professional motivational speaker and has experience counselling families. Godfrey has helped individuals grow, families to unite and organisations to prosper and is willing to help with his advice.

This article was originally published on IOL Lifestyle.

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