The Internet – The Great Time Thief

Parents know the value of family time. Spending quality time with your family can bring you all closer together, give you some time to get to know what is going on in your kids’ lives. Finding time to spend with your family is getting more and more difficult in today’s culture of multiple income families. Both mom and dad work, so the kids let themselves into the house after school, and when the parents come home, meals are often microwaved and eaten in front of the television or in the bedroom while doing homework. We have enough distractions from family time to worry about these days. The Internet doesn’t need to be one of them.

Recent research shows that teenagers and older children spend as much as four or five hours logged onto the Internet. About ten years ago, watchdog groups were worried about kids spending that much time in front of the television, only now, they’ve either replaced television with Internet or they’ve simply added the computer to their already full days.

This has become a dangerous trend in youth behavior. With so many things making demands on teenagers’ time, spending time with the family is even more important than it ever has been. Unfortunately, teens are spending less time engaging in meaningful interaction with the family as a unit than they need. In fact, many teens are replacing real human contact with Internet friendships and relationships at a staggering rate.

Family time takes many forms, including nightly dinner, movie night, or a trip to the ballpark. When relationships are fostered within a family structure, the bond between child and parent is strengthened, effectively giving the parent more control over the behavior of the kids. It’s not hard to see the advantage of a strong relationship with your kids. So many parents are exasperated by their kids’ judgment (or lack of the same).

It’s never too late to introduce dedicated family time into your routine. Even if it’s just once a month, it can do worlds to bring your family closer together. Of course, starting family time is much easier the earlier you do it, but it is possible to start family night later in your kids’ lives. Teenagers are usually pretty strong willed, so don’t force them into anything, but you can find something they will join in.

If your teen resists your efforts, find out what he or she is interested in. Perhaps they have a hobby you don’t know about. If they like food, teach them to cook. Maybe going to see a local sports team play will get their attention. Anything you can think of that will engage their attention and allow them to spend time with you in an enjoyable manner is a good idea. The key here is that the time is enjoyable and free from judgment or conflict. If you bring up a subject and they seem a bit defensive, don’t push it too much or you will risk alienating them further.

The Internet is a place for teens and kids of all ages to get together with countless like minded people, so it’s a great escape when family time seems so ‘uncool’. Show your kids that family time is good time; you won’t regret it.

Have a great day!

Lawrence