At times, technology can become the “third wheel,” inserting itself into
situations where it doesn’t belong.
Technology no longer “serves” our relationships when, instead of acting as
a means of connection, it separates two or more people. Let’s take a look
at some examples.
When does technology serve as a tool for connection?
technology’s strengths throughout the pandemic
; we’ve been able to appreciate its ability to virtually close long
distances between people through tools like video calls.
We’ve attended graduation parties via video-calling platforms, we’ve
exchanged smiles, concerns, and love—at times, from a hospital bed.
We have preserved our bonds with those we love. We have been able to care
for one another virtually, even though we may be kept apart because of
quarantining or travel restrictions.
Technology has shown its full potential in these sorts of situations, as it
fostered connection rather than compromise it.
When does technology separate us instead of uniting us?
Despite all this, there are times when we wrongly delegate tasks to
technology and use it when it isn’t appropriate.
Here’s one example: parents not reading bedtime stories to their children
and, instead, leaving it to Alexa, the increasingly popular Amazon device.
In this case, technology fails to unite people, but rather creates further
division. Though we live in the same house, we leave certain tasks to
technology that would otherwise be moments of nourishment for relationships
between our children and us.
Alexa: the metallic voice that replaces mom and dad
British research has revealed that, despite the fact that Alexa’s voice is
tinny and not very expressive, more than a quarter of the parents
interviewed in a
commissioned by the charity Book Trust—a British volunteer
organization that promotes reading to children—rely on Alexa or other apps
to read their children stories, so that they don’t have to do it
themselves. Often parents will use a tablet or cell phone to put their
children to sleep, even though both have harmful effects on our nervous
system and sleep schedule.
So why do it? Well, because we are tired or have too many commitments.
Our dependence on technology grows, even in the evening hours.
The charity Book Trust‘s survey of 1,000 U.K. parents with
children under the age of 10 was conducted to find out if the habit of
reading bedtime stories was still part of the family routine and seen as a
chance to connect with our children.
The results revealed that many parents rely on technology for this type of
activity. While nearly half (49%) say they want to read a story to their
children every night, only 28% are able to do so. Three in ten (31%) say
work or commuting prevents them from getting home on time, while one in
five feel they are simply “too busy.”
One in four (26%) said they have tried using technology as virtual
assistants for reading bedtime stories.
Reading with children strengthens our bonds with them and fosters
various areas of development
president, Gemma Malley, explains that parents are finding it “increasingly
difficult” to fit bedtime stories into their busy schedules.
“I know from experience that it can be tempting to replace reading aloud
with a device, but trading books for technology can have profound
consequences. Just ten minutes of reading a book together a day makes a
Reading a story aloud to our children has so many benefits that we cannot
negate: not only does it bring us closer to our kids, but it also helps
build language skills, resilience, confidence, and imagination.
Reading to children stimulates the mind and improves language development,
enriching their vocabulary; it stimulates their socialization skills and
hones their listening skills, as well.
In short, perhaps it’s better to turn off Alexa—at least in the evening.
Disconnecting from everything and everyone, even if only for twenty
minutes, can help us enjoy a unique and irreplaceable moment like reading a