Happy, healthy, rewarding relationships, whether with friends, family, or a romantic partner, thrive and succeed by building close bonds, often through communication and shared experiences. In today’s world, it is easy for us (adults, teens and children alike) to use technology to distance ourselves from each other, so that the more connected we may seem (by being “Friends” on Facebook or Snapchat, following each other on Twitter and Vine), the less connected we actually are.
This month make an effort to deepen your connections and communication with others. Challenge yourself and your children to “one up” or take how you communicate with others to the next level. For example, if your tween reaches for her phone to text a friend, have her call or Skype them instead. If your teen asks to play video games virtually with a group of friends online, have him invite those friends over so they can play together in the same space. You can even make a fun chart as a family of different levels of communication and how to “one up” them. For example:
- Liking an Instagram post –> Make a meaningful comment as to why you enjoy it
- Tweeting to a friend –> Pick up the phone and call her
- Texting –> Skype or Facetime with him
- Calling on the phone –> Make a date to meet up in person
With younger children, make it a point to eliminate distractions during your time together, such as at the dinner table, on the drive home from school, or when playing in the yard. Put away the devices, turn off the screens, and focus on being together and sharing real life experiences in a more intimate way.
To learn more about media and social connection, see our brand new Social Connection page.