Friday, January 6, 2012

The Digital Family-How Digital Technology Hurts the Family

Technology has become a part of modern life and is deeply embedded in today’s families. Yet, the challenges brought on by technology in the home are not all created by teens. Parents are becoming just as dependent on digital tools.

According to a new report co-released by Barna Group and Orange, most Americans have welcomed digital technologies like computers and smart phones into their lives with open arms. In fact, most parents believe that, on balance, technology has been a positive influence in their lives by making communication more convenient.
Yet, there is no question that technology has also increased conflict within families. Parents complain that technology wastes time, creates diversions from homework, allows students to maintain a private, exclusive relational life, and distracts from family conversations.
Interestingly, the research pointed out that most parents are just as dependent on digital tools; they use the Internet and mobile phones nearly as much as their own children. Teenagers also complain about a double standard with regard to technology, noting that their parents bring home too much work and that it makes it hard to have conversations. Recent writing from Barna Group founder, George Barna, raises the possibility that technology has become America’s new addiction.

The Barna report gives clues as to how church communities can help families navigate the digital world by helping to reimagine the role of sabbatical living (i.e., taking meaningful, consistent breaks from technology) and by adding technology to discussions of stewardship.

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