I had the opportinity to interview clinical phycologist, Dr. Sherry Turkle an she explained to me the family harms of too much technology and why we should give tech a rest.
Please read interview to learn how your family can benefit. Your family will thank you!
EmpowHer: Dr. Turkle, have we become too attached to technology?
Dr Turkle: In many ways, yes. We’ve become too attached when our relationship with technology takes us away from people. Technology is supposed to bring us together with people. And recently, we’ve become so attached to technology that really it’s leaving us more isolated, paradoxically.
EmpowHer: What is the Foresters Tech Timeout challenge?
Dr. Turkle: Tech Timeout challenge is a challenge that says listen, for an hour a day a week, put your devices away and spend more time with your family, with your friends, with yourself to self reflect. See if you can become master of your technology rather than letting it be master of you.
EmpowHer: What are the possible effects of too much online/digital/mobile interaction on children?
Dr. Turkle: Well, actually the worst thing that can happen is children start to depend on technology for communication instead of having conversations. And it turns out that children use conversations with other people to learn how to have conversations with themselves and that skill of self reflection is the bedrock of child development. So that’s tremendously important.
EmpowHer: How does technology lead to social isolation within families?
Dr. Turkle: Well, you can see it at a dinner table. Parents, kids, all at a dinner table, all on their own devices. Parents are doing their email, kids are texting. I call it being alone together. Dinner table is hen parents need to be talking with kids. Kids need to be talking with parents and they’re not. They’re on their devices. In the car, that’s prime time for kids and parents to be talking and they’re not. Kids are texting in the back of the car, parents are doing their email in the front, hopefully not the driver, but sometimes! In the playground, parents are texting instead of watching their children. Playground accidents are up. We’re really putting more attention on our devices than we are often in our relationships with others and that’s a very bad thing.
EmpowHer: What are the benefits of taking a break from technology and how can it affect family well-being?
Dr. Turkle: Well, first of all you realize when you take a break, how much technology has interfered with the basics, with just touching base with your family, with just knowing what’s going on. The first benefit is you realize is “my goodness, I’ve been out of touch!” and the second benefit is you begin to use that time for conversation and conversation within your family is really the glue that holds your family together and you begin to see that when you take the time to have those conversations and you begin to say “how can we as a family make better decisions about how we’re going to use technology in our family.” So many families can use the timeout for example to make a decision not to have technology in the kitchen, that that’s a sacred space, a technology free zone, or the dining room is a technology free zone - a zone for conversation, the car a technology free zone. So I suggest using the timeout as a kind of place to make family rules for how again, not how to get rid of technology but to use it for your families benefit.