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 how to incorporate technology into your family time.
Alternative Uses for Technology
Kenny Trinh, Managing Editor of Netbooknews
Use a Video Tutorial for a Family Activity
For example, 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
Another suggestion is to make a short film or skit of your favorite family movie. Kids could play their favorite characters and the older kids together with the adults could do all the directing and editing. This would be a nice family project and something you could even watch at family dinners for years to come.
Video Calls instead of Instant Messages
Face to face interactions is very important, especially for your growing kids. It can affect 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.
Family Organizer Apps
Use family organizer apps. These apps have a wide range of really useful functions that you could use a family, such as managing family tasks lists, sending reminders of important family schedules and personal events and even make games out of chores.
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, and if they choose not to attend events, it is because they chose not too – not because they weren’t invited or indeed even aware of it.
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 like apps they can learn fun facts about world history and apps that can teach healthy exercises that all the family can do. There are also interactive games like farmville the family can play as unit and take turns in completing tasks in. Families can also source out family friendly computing games they can participate in and do as a family unit together in the comfort of their own home.
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. What my wife and I do is incorporate technology as much as possible in our family routines to make life more enjoyable especially for my 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. As much as possible, we make this a family habit rather than all of us individually holding our gadgets with no interaction at all.
My wife makes use of YouTube to search for DIY videos to do with my twins when they’re having their mother-daughter bonding during school breaks. I also join in when I’m not working.
I believe that incorporating technology has helped our family bond more. It completely enhances our experiences and makes the time that we have with each other more memorable.
Use Apps 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.
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 the families scattered around the world. Instead of multiple, one-on-one messages to each family member, a group will not only mean less work when it comes to keeping everyone informed but 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 follow the movement that you see the person on the screen is doing – you imitate them. You get rated based on how successfully you reproduce the moves. You can connect multiple phones to the same dance party, which is a guarantee for some healthy competition and fun family time.
It can be scary to think of giving our 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 in the process.
Keep an eye out for our new FREE webinar coming this Thursday: The 5 Hottest Student Apps: What Parents and Teachers Should Know