The holidays are a time to reconnect with loved ones by sharing stories and making new memories. Until they aren’t. What’s the culprit? Smart devices. It’s time to set forth some rules and look up from the electronic distraction in your hand this holiday season.
A Society Addicted
Come on, admit it. When was the last family/friend get-together when, while looking up from your smartphone/device (yes, iPads and tablets count too!) you did not observe bowed heads over a glowing screen? Time “together” has become a joke in the average household. It just means being in the same room, that’s all. It’s time to reconnect.
Lead by example
Kids aren’t the only ones addicted to their smartphones, and they know it. To get your family to unplug over the holidays, parents must put theirs away first! Begin the transition by admitting you too suffer from the fear of missing out (FOMO). Next, establish ground rules to transition away from the glowing screen in your hand. Begin by:
- Discussing the ground rules with all members of the family before setting forth “the rules”
- Establishing “phone free time” by posting a set of rules when phones are not allowed to be used (e.g. during meals, for the 1st hour while arriving home)
- Requiring everyone (including yourself as the parent) to put smart devices in a designated box/location out of sight during the designated “device-free time”
Next, follow through during the holiday party, by:
- Collecting phones when the party starts (if someone’s job requires contact, e.g. doctors, law enforcement, request they put their phone on “do not disturb” mode with only essential numbers allowed to bypass the setting)
- Explaining the plan in a fun way and engage guests in fun discussions/activities to keep their mind off checking-in or entertaining themselves
- If the rule is violated and someone is caught giving into their FOMO fear, do not shame them or call them out in front of others
The goal is to not make guests angry but to get everyone to interact, especially with members of the older generation.
To put it in perspective, there is a picture I posted on the Fun Team Building Facebook page of a grandmother sitting in a room full of family members bowed over their phones while she sits by, ignored. This really hit me; she was essentially sitting “alone” in a room full of people. Is this the memory (or lack of memory, really) our younger generation should have of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and/or older family friends? No! It’s time look up before it’s too late.
Commit to unplug and connect this year, no excuses.
About Fun Team Building
Participate in fun and energizing team building activities that turbo-charge morale, teach respect, and build trust. Fun Team Building’s Larry Lipman understands the importance of tuning into one another. He can help your team build the right environment to support it. Contact Larry or give him a call at 770.333.3303 today!
I really like the idea of setting ground rules especially with using gadgets during family time. I really think that if it’s family time, gadget shouldn’t be allowed but we need to still keep it within reach so in case there’s an emergency.
Khayrie: thank you for your comment! We are on the same page. Let’s talk to each other during family time!