The Dumbing Down of Family Life

How typical is this scene of a family at their dining or kitchen table, with parents and kids all on their devices? Or do families even dine at a table anymore, or do they all get their plates and scatter?? I venture this is true by in large here in America, and likely in many countries around the world.  This cannot be good.

While we all use smart devices, so smart that any cell phone has more “horsepower” than all the computers used for Apollo missions to the Moon, how can the family unit and its members be getting “smarter” in a socio/psych sense when parents allow and facilitate this kind of family time?  Real communication, especially the kind of spontaneous talk around meals that can open up channels to deeper issues, is essential to building family ties and values.  At least that is my opinion.

Here is what family meal time should look like:


When my Godchildren, all young adults now, this is what meals would look like, more often than not.  We would be laughing, talking about their school, homework, what happened in school, all that.  It was great.

I remember as a country boy how we would always sit together for our meals.  We had a TV, but living 100 miles from the nearest station and an antenna on a 50-ft tall pole for reception gave us only grainy images of the Red Skelton show or Howdy Doody.  When it came time to eat, we were right there at the table, ready for my Mother’s fried fish, french fries, but not the vegetables she forced me to eat.  But it was a time of togetherness, before I would go back into the yard or off into the woods to play imaginary games.

Of course living as I had the grand opportunity to in my boyhood, is not accessible to most American families, but in their own way young families of today can create equally bonding times around the table.

If Americans continue to allow our devices to rule our family life, we are going to be in deep trouble soon, I do fear.


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