Many parents and educators turn to Smart Social to learn about the negative effects of social media on teens and tweens. However, there are also many positive impacts social media can have on families. Wondering how families can use technology in a positive way to make a connection between parents and children? We asked some parents and tech experts for their ideas and tips for incorporating technology into family time.
Find alternative uses for technology
Kenny Trinh, Managing Editor of Netbooknews
Use a Video Tutorial for a Family Activity
Nowadays we watch a lot of how-to videos. Why not use a video tutorial on how to bake a cake or a pizza as a family activity? Everyone will have a part to play, even the little ones, and the family dinner would for sure be a lot more fun.
Shoot a Short film or Skit
Make a short film or skit of your favorite family movie. Kids could play their favorite characters and the older kids and adults could do all the directing and editing. This would be a nice family project and something you could watch together for years to come.
Video Calls instead of Instant Messages
Face to face interactions is very important, especially for your growing kids. It can impact the level of their confidence and the way they interact with other people.
So as much as possible, do a video call instead of just sending an instant message. Seeing you on the screen and hearing your voice still beats reading a chat or instant message to matter how sweet it is.
Use Family Organizer Apps
These apps have a wide range of really useful functions such as managing family tasks lists, sending schedule reminders, and even making games out of chores.
Start group messages with family members
Dr. Rahil Chaudhary, Managing Director of Eye7
Having a family group chat app can make everyone in the (immediate) family feel involved in the family. All families will have an introvert or someone who is out of the loop (by choice mostly). However, even though they hardly contribute to the chat doesn’t mean they are not interested. They can still feel included being a non-contributor – silent partner. This can improve family values immeasurably, as nobody will feel neglected.
Watch videos together
Joseph Webster, Soul Series Health
One uplifting way a family can use technology is by practicing something fun and healthy like downloading a meditation app on the computer and learning how to meditate together as a family. Families can also download a whole host of different apps that the family can participate in together. There are apps to learn fun facts about world history and apps that can teach healthy family-friendly exercises. There are also interactive games the family can play as a unit and take turns completing tasks.
Positive impact of social media
Andrew Cunningham, Founder of DailyPest
As a father of twin girls, my wife and I have our hands full. That said, our girls love their tablets and other electronics. My wife and I incorporate technology, as much as possible, in our family routines to make life more enjoyable – especially for our two girls.
I’m always busy with my business so I don’t get to spend as much time with them during the weekdays. During lunch hour, though, they call me via video call with their mom. This helps us communicate even when we are apart.
During the weekends, we spend game nights on my tablet playing their favorite apps. We make this a family habit rather than all of us individually holding our gadgets with no interaction at all.
My wife uses YouTube to search for DIY videos to do with my twins when they’re having their mother-daughter bonding time during school breaks. I also join in when I’m not working.
I believe incorporating technology has helped connect our family. It enhances our experiences and makes the time we have with each other more memorable.
Use an app to learn a new language together
Jovan Milenkovic, co-founder of KommandoTech
There are numerous free apps for learning languages that are quite popular and interactive. A lot of them have daily challenges and require users to be constantly active and, therefore, improve their knowledge. It can be quite interesting for families to gather and start learning a new language as a team. They can push each other to work harder, have fun, and acquire a new, highly useful skill.
Host family game nights
Luka Arezina, co-founder of DataProt
One of my favorite ways in which technology positively impacts families is the use of chat groups on WhatsApp or Facebook. It especially goes well for families scattered around the world. Instead of multiple, one-on-one messages to each family member, a group will mean less work when it comes to keeping everyone informed. It will also create a space for interaction. It’s similar to gathering in the same room and having a conversation that is open to everyone – an important and needed family time that ultimately uplifts all involved.
Another cool way of using technology for an uplifting time is playing Just Dance with your family. Just Dance is an app that uses the movement tracker on your phone to send to the viewing device information. While the song on your TV is playing, you imitate the movement of the person on-screen. Players are rated based on how successfully they reproduce the moves. You can connect multiple phones to the same dance party, which guarantees some healthy competition and fun family time.
It can be scary to think of giving students access to the internet with so much dangerous content out there. But if you have open and honest conversations with your students about the dangers of social media, and use it together as a family, you can help keep your students safe and have some fun in the process.