I know that a lot of "experts" say that technology is actually ripping families apart, and though that may be true on some level (more distractions means less face-to-face time), in some ways, I think it's brought our family closer.
I have two teenage boys (for those that don't know) and I'm lucky if I get grunts, let alone actual words. And trying to get them to talk about their days? Is nearly impossible. And I try, believe me. In fact, I do some of the silliest things in an effort to make them laugh and open up. Once in a while, I'm successful, but most times, they just roll their eyes at me. I'm afraid I only reinforce their opinion of me – lame-ass mom.
But the boys got new phones for Christmas. These phones have pop-out keyboards which make texting easier. And we text back and forth. Not a lot, they are teenage boys after all (which basically means teenage boys aren't typically chatty to begin with), but I feel like I talk to them more now because of the texting feature.
We also watch YouTube videos together. ("Hey mom! You have to watch this funny video!") And of course, there's Facebook (sometimes reading their statuses is the only way I know what is going on in their lives).
I honestly think I would know a lot less about my boys without today's technology to fall back on.
It's certainly easy to get distracted by technology. When I think about making the boys give up their technology in favor of real life I have to think, "how would I feel if someone asked me to give up my favorite gadgets?" I'd resent it.
We have come to accept that that is what our boys like. They enjoy their computers, they love playing their games with their buddies online. Texting is crack to teenagers – our children have grown up with technology, it's what they know, it's what they enjoy. Sure, we teach our boys to take breaks, to come back to "reality," but as with anything, using technology comes with responsibilities and too much of anything is never a good idea.
Do I wish our boys had more one-on-one social skills? Yes. And I daresay they're going to learn those skills pretty fast when they get jobs and/or go to college, but they're also learning skills with technology, too; skills that I daresay will come in handy in our technology-saturated world.
I mean come on, can you imagine your world without your cell phone and your computer?
Okay fine, I can imagine it too, but the REAL question is, do we WANT to?