Creative Child

Family: Staying Close in the Digital Age

by Rebecca Eanes

It is the age of being superficially known by hundreds and deeply known by no one, or by very few. We are virtually connected for much of the day, but our heart-to-heart connections are suffering - yet being known and accepted as we are, not as what we portray on social media, being seen and loved and valued at home, not seen and liked and noticed online, being connected to real people – these are what sustain us.

I understand the struggle of staying close when everything is pulling at our attention. My sons have iPads and Kindle Fires and X-Box systems. I have an online business. The pull is ever present, seeking to draw us into the online world and away from the blessings right in front of us.

I was struck by a passage in the book The Life-Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson.

It says this, “If my awareness of space is concentrated on a screen, my home will reflect the absence of my attention, my creativity, and ultimately, my love.”

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I think the conversation about screen time has been had many times already. How much screen time should children be allowed? Are parents too addicted to their phones? Just as we have become accustomed to doing, we scan these articles quickly, throw in our two cents in a depthless online conversation with strangers, comment about how ironic it is that we read such a piece on our phones, and move on to the next bit of information grappling for our attention.

For many, I see defenses swiftly raised, quick to defend the right to take a short break from the constant demands of parenthood. For others, pangs of guilt are expressed and then forgotten. But do we give careful, deep consideration to how this digital age is affecting our intimate relationships at home? Those who express a desire to change often feel hopeless to be able to effect it. The problem feels too big for us, too ingrained, and with so little control over the allure of the world wide web, we accept that this is the age we are living in.

But hope remains. If you haven’t heard of the Facebook page, The Hands Free Revolution, do visit it. Rachel, and her two beautiful books, are a beacon of hope for “letting go of distraction to grasp what truly matters.” Together, Rachel, Sally, and Sarah have inspired me to make the following changes in my own home.

Related Article: The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’

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