PERSONAL disconnection to families is a growing issue in the Philippines today. Family members feel isolated and invisible because they feel nobody cares. Traditionally, this happens due to broken families and parents working abroad. However now, families are unanchored due to dangers of the electronic world is causing. And the sad truth is that families are more connected electronically but more disconnected personally.
Electronic world like social media is a great form of communication. People have the opportunity to express their ideas, insights and emotions freely. Use of cellular phones to communicate to distant people is also considered as a big advantage since the opportunity to talk to a person so far is easy and accessible.
But the sad thing is that the boys have tendencies to get pre-occupied with video and online games, while girls are consumed by the power of the social media. Even parents at home consumed their few extra time after work for social media, as well. Funny, that even during dinner time, all family members might be present and the ambiance is so quiet, but everyone is busy with their cell phones – even the youngest at five years old.
I must say that the electronic world can mess up the family relationships. Family members unconsciously fail to appreciate the essence of real human interaction, because they have allowed technology to replace the face-face to interaction. True communication is lost and its power to calm a tiring heart vanished.
Even research says that the average cell phone user checks his or her cell phone one hundred fifty (150) times in a day and that some students spend as much as fifty (50) hours per week on social media pursuits (Slayton, 2015). Oh, I believe this has a negative implication on family relationships and dynamics.
Of course, the advantages of technology cannot be underestimated because it brings so many benefits. The happiness that video calls can bring, the convenience of online shopping, the easy accessibility to research and etc. I am convinced that technology is helping people’s lives easier – everything becomes so fast and less tiring. However, people should always remember that a family needs quality time, like just sitting together watching television, cooking foods and eating - all of these are lovely activities where family members would not notice that time is running. Ahh… families should not permit technology to control family relationships!
So, parents should be focused on sharing quality time to their growing kids. Less time would mean less in-depth communication. This somehow would deprive each family members the attention, care and love that nourishes relationships. It can even strangle the spiritual growth of children and can damage the family’s’ trust and confidence. So, what’s the real catch here?
Again, for parents… They should guide their children on how to spend their time everyday productively and help them learn to value family time and community relationships. They have to manage the culture of busyness and correct the belief that loving their children is giving them more material things and living a life so comfortable and so rich. Remember that time is created by God, it should be used for goodness, in a way honouring God. Remember also, that parents are not growing young – so they must use their remaining time to create everlasting beautiful memories with their children.
And for their children, they should use their electronic gadgets wisely. They must learn to use social media and other applications responsibly with boundaries. They must, too, understand that their parents are growing old and they may leave this temporary world soon, and so they need to share more of their time kissing, hugging and sharing their everyday stories to their parents. Life is so beautiful to live, so live a life without regrets. Communicate when parents can still hear.
Yes, electronic world helps us live in this busy and fast-moving world. But, even without it – we can live. But without a family attached to each other, communicating by heart is a life truly impossible to live.
People cannot embrace each other through a gadget, right? Eye to eye contact personally cannot possibly happen. How sad even is to touch a dying loved one through an electronic gadgets’ screen?
I guess there will never be any replacement to real human interaction…
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 19, 2017.
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