Quality Time and Technology Can Mix

It is easy to see the negative side of technology. Parents want to protect their kids from these negative effects to the fullest extent possible. But no one benefits when the baby is thrown out with the bathwater. There are as many positives made possible by technology as there are negatives. Parents of tech-obsessed kids do not need to worry about technology driving a wedge into the relationship. That can embrace technology, and use it to strengthen the family ties. Here are a few ways to mix technology with quality time:

technology and internet concept - students looking into phones and tablet pc at school; Shutterstock ID 148727033; Cost Ctr: M71071199900; Dept: CBC.ca digital; Email: jennifer.dunning@cbc.ca; Project: Blog post

Reinstate Family Movie Night

Movie night is a quaint idea that has nothing to do with taking the family out to a theater and is still practiced in many homes today. It arose from the reality that families were starting to drift apart because of all of the demands on time and divergent interests. The expensive dining room table became a symbol of the fact that families no longer ate their main meal together or any meal for that matter.

At some point, some enterprising dad looked at that stack of platter-sized video disks, and used technology to get family back together. Movie night was born. By now, those giant disks have been replaced with saucer-sized DVDs and Blue Rays. Even those are falling out of favor, being replaced by downloads and digital streams.

But just because physical media is all but dead, that doesn’t mean that movie night has to die. Depending on which of the DIRECTV packages you opt for, it has never been easier to find something for everyone to watch. If you want to watch something live, but missed the first few minutes, you may have the option to start the program from the beginning. You can always find something on one of the many On-Demand channels.

The point is that technology has revived the TV as an occasion for togetherness. While everyone can enjoy their favorite shows on their iPhones and tablets, Jurassic World will always be an event for the big screen that everyone can enjoy together. You don’t even need a plastic disk to enjoy it.

Turn Your Living Room into a Bowling Alley

Since we are talking about blasts from the past, why not bring back bowling as a family event. At some point, bowling became a sport for old people. There are kids who have never seen a bowling alley, let alone been inside of one to bowl. There is the part involving renting shoes, and handling community bowling balls stained with the remnants of other people’s colds that are better left in the past.

The Nintendo Wii made bowling in the living room a reality for millions of people around the world. But now that the Wii is out of favor with the masses, it is the iPhone and Apple TV to the rescue. The other ingredient is an iPhone game called Bowling Central. When you put all three elements together, you have a reasonable approximation of the famous Wii Sports experience. Naturally, it is not the only video gaming experience you can share with family. But there is something about getting old-school quality time out of new-school technology.

Learn Something New Together

You probably should call a plumber for that flood in the basement. But there are plenty of tasks around the house that you could do yourself. Why not turn some of those tasks into a learning experience for you and the kids? Grab your iPad. Between iTunes U, Kahn Academy, and YouTube, you can learn just about anything for free. The internet represents all the collected knowledge of the world. You already have the technology to access it. Just add quality time with family, and it is hard to get any better than that.

Quality time is what you make of it. Technology does not have to work against you. 

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