Consumerism and Technology – affecting our children
In a National Post article (Nov 19), British Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks reminds us all that “Consumerism is the quickest way to unhappiness.”
Rabbi Sacks made the following points:
- We are living in the “i” generation – in fact he calls it the selfish “i”
- Advertising makes shoppers aware of what they don’t have – this is now the focus instead of feeling thankful for what we do have.
- Stuff doesn’t make us happy in long run – only faith and spending time with family can do that.
- People are looking for values – values of consumer society aren’t ones we can live by for long
- In the “i” world – when only care about you – you don’t do very well
- “If you are looking for happiness, happiness lies in that which is “not me”.
So how does this play out in our day to day parenting life?
1. With the holidays coming up – consumerism abounds – and that is really becoming a year round extravaganza.
We have the opportunity to notice how consumerism/advertising/the need for stuff affects our family and then to model the values we want to share with our children.
2. Seen at the Flames game on Friday – a family (dad, son (12), daughter (teen) and daughter’s friend) sat together. The dad was on his phone (texting and emailing)the whole game and did not communicate once with his son until the 13 minute mark in the third period. The boy literally sat there by himself for most of the game– the two girls barely watched the game, took pictures of themselves, texted and laughed a lot which was very distracting for the people sitting behind them trying to watch the game.
When the dad did talk to the son it lasted about one sentence and the boy replied and that was it! So…did this dad think he was having a night out with his kids to spend time with them and enjoy their company?
Awarness is the key here as it so often is in parenting. We’ve been reading the book Alone Together by MIT Technology and Society Specialist Sherry Turke. Once chapter in the book discusses the effects of parents’ technology on children.
A)Begin to notice when and where technology is taking you away from your children.
B)Set some familiy boundaries around time and place for the use of technology and MODEL this.
C)When you are choosing to be with your children, be with them – put the phone away and allow conversation to happen. Set a certain time to deal with “urgent” emails and if the phone/ipad/technology is too much of a temptation, turn it off – show your kids that they are more important than the device.
Ulitmately, it is about making a conscious choice around time spent with people and time spent with technology. We each need to find the best fit for our own family.