Finding family connections without a search engine

Are you and your kids constantly using technology? Our reliance on technology may be threatening our family relationships, author Catherine Steiner-Adair says in her new book, “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age,” which she wrote with Teresa H. Barker.

Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and professor at Harvard Medical School, says that children miss out on things like reading, using their imaginations and connecting with others because they tend to choose technology first. It’s not just kids, though, since many parents are constantly using smartphones or tablets too, which may be sending the wrong message to kids.

Steiner-Adair says that turning devices off during specified times can help show a commitment to the family and a desire to put the family first. The author does point out, though, that technology can also strengthen relationships, as is often the case when long-distance family members use video chat to stay in touch with one another. Still, Steiner-Adair maintains that we need to find better ways to stay truly connected to our loved ones in general.

“Instead of plugging into ear buds, listen to yourself, find your inner GPS, Google search your own life experience, plug into your soul,” she says.

Winston-Salem Journal, 9/29/13

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