How are we all doing when it comes to our highly digital age and our relationships? That depends. Because there really does seem to be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly when it come to how the digital world has affected our relationships. I am referring to: cell or iPhones, which entails instant communication, texting, tweeting, face timing, Then we have face book, you tube, web surfing, etc, So let’s look at some of the positives and the negatives of fast paced, instant communication with access to lots of people with many blurred boundaries. It is hard to keep up. A stopping and mindfully looking at all of this for families and couples is so very important I think.
There are positive things about our current ways of communicating. Here are some of them.
- We can have almost instant contact with our loved ones.
- We can use our digital communication for the good. We can stay in closer contact with the special people in our life.
- We can communicate with children and partners to assure us they are safe and protected.
- We have multiple ways of expressing our affection for our children and our loved ones.
- Children in two home families can have access to both homes via our digital world.
- We can very easily fall into spending more time with our iPhones, iPads and laptops than our loved ones.
- Our children may feel ignored if we become so immersed in our face booking or you-tubing or web surfing that we are not able to focus on them when they need it.
- Our spouses may accuse of us of spending more time with our facebook friends than with them.
- Digital communication is not face to face and is not a replacement for time one on one, physical time with our loved ones that is needed for a healthy relationship.
- Inappropriate or fuzzy boundaries when texting, emailing, face booking can lead to 3rd party relationships that can aid the beginnings of emotional or physical affairs
- Airing martial or couple disagreements or separations on face book or other social media forums can lead to damage that is difficult to repair in a relationship
- Online pornography addition that will strongly impact most marriages in a negative way.
How to make the good things even better AND the keep the “bad” and “ugly” in check and within boundaries . . .
- Mindfully use today’s technology to strengthen your relationships. Use it to connect more, but not in place of physical connection. We need touch and physically seeing and being with one another. Texting, face booking, and cell phone conversations are nice supplements, but they are not a replacement for the “real deal”.
- Really listen to your loved ones about their feelings about your time spent on social media or texting, etc. Not only what they are saying but tuning into their body language and behavior in relationship to all of digital communication.
- Develop firm, healthy boundaries to protect your relationships in regard to whom and how you communicate with others.
- Set the tone for what is healthy and what is respectful in your home with your children and teens when it comes to all of their electronic devices. Be a good model and follow through with rules you have put in place.
- Take a break from technology when you are having family or couple time. You can really focus and “be with” your loved ones when you do. You might consider meal times as a “no phone” time in your family. Or when you have special family or couple outings.
- Consider the bedroom as “off-limits” for all electronic devices. Our bedrooms can be our sanctuary away from the world and a special place to be with our loved ones.
I have to say we are all in a wave of more and more electronic communication and are feeling our way as to what is most helpful and healthy for us. I think the key is to thoughtfully “choose” what is best for us and our loved ones. We do have a choice. Best wishes with your own, choices to create a balance that includes your loved ones.