Family Matters in the Digital Age
Heartfelt notes, awkward family poses, fun family videos - gear up to see your newsfeed flooded with it all today , on The International Day of Families. The scene offline though, might tell a different story. It is not an uncommon sight nowadays to find everyone in the same room, expressing love online without having to make any eye contact whatsoever.
That the digital age has completely reshaped our relationships is known. But though technology is taking over our lives and there is a worldwide buzz about how detrimental it is to building solid interpersonal relationships, there is also a discussion on the side about how it can help strengthen ties between members of a family, if used well.
Bridging the Distance
A look at your WhatsApp contacts will reveal how many distant cousins and relatives are now regularly in touch via family groups. Granted you may not always indulge in long drawn conversations, but to know you’re in touch with people you’ve grown up with no matter what corner of the world they currently live in, gives a sense of rootedness. The silly forwards, the embarrassing pictures, the inside jokes- it all adds up to a sense of feeling at home. Throw in the option of video chat, and distance is completely dissolved.
Finding Peers Within Generations
Contrary to what many think, technology doesn’t drive families apart but in fact has potential to create more areas of interest. If parents can educate themselves about the child’s online interests, they are not only able to monitor it but can also participate in it themselves. Children too learn responsible internet behavior and are able to see the grown-ups as relatable figures instead of authoritarians. Naturally, this diminishes the generation gap to a great extent. Be it video games, streaming movies or social networking, both adults and children can share their digital interests without anyone feeling ignorant or left out.
Two parent households are fast becoming the norm in urban areas. And when both the parents have demanding jobs, technology can be a real blessing. Especially in the form of parental control. Right from CCTV cameras to password protected apps and sites, you are connected to your child and in control of their activity even in your physical absence. It’s a relief to say the least. Not only children, technology today is a blessing in homes with senior citizens as well. Today more and more people above the age of 60 are signing up on Facebook to connect with family and find long lost friends. While going digital proves to be a source of distraction for them, it also helps you keep track of their activity and health when you’re not available to them.
Of course some issues still linger. But the pitfalls of technology shouldn’t override its many merits. From movies and games to sharing playlists and reading lists; from having mutual friends to a mutual laugh over relatable memes- technology provides families ample scope to bond, bridge the generation gap and stay connected over distances. Walk the middle path and a digital family can have a lot more to bond over than expected.