Connecting the Dots Using tech for summer fun
Author: Richard Singleton

You’ve envisioned this moment all year and it’s finally here: summer!

The kids couldn’t wait to hear the final bell. Admittedly, it’s something many of them have been craving since the first bell of the year. You couldn’t wait to catch a few more morning Zs and both of you couldn’t wait to try to escape the near apocalyptic mornings; frazzled nerves and frayed emotions as you all tried to hustle out the door with homework, backpacks, lunchboxes and sanity all making it semi-safely into the seemingly warp-drive-equipped SUV.

Well, that grind is over for now and at long last summer is here. Last year I shared a plan of action for making sure that your summer vacation plans included a bit of a vacation from your technology. But, I know my limits and I’ll not press my luck and try to pry your phone out of your hand two years in row. I’d like to keep a few of you around to continue reading the column, after all.

What gives? Why such a relaxed stance on the technology inundation that we all swim in

Actually, a couple of things. First, some interesting studies have emerged over the last few years that shed a more positive light on technology. Research several years ago by Pew Internet and American Life Project, and more recently by the Barna Group, suggests that we just have to accept the reality that times have changed. Families have incorporated technology into their lives; it’s hardwired in. Set in stone. And, that’s okay on many levels. In fact, part of the research suggests that in many ways families are finding ways to make technology a healthy way to help stay connected in productive ways.

Increasingly, technology is just a common conduit of communication. It’s fading into the background as a novelty and the focus is increasingly on content rather than the shiny delivery system. This is important because it suggests the tried and true ways that families connect and stay connected can be translated into the technology-saturated world too – maybe even because of technology and not necessarily in spite of it.

Consequently, we can go back to basics with strengthening families – no matter if you’re going to implement them with paper and pen or a quadcore, hypersonic gadget. As such, to keep our families connected this summer, we can use our technology effectively to accomplish these important tasks:

• Find something to laugh about with your family. Whether it’s a text that has gone from lame to fame because of an autocorrect atrocity, whether it’s a gut busting YouTube video or whether it’s an Instagram photo that brings an enormous smile to your face, find a way to use technology to advance your family’s joy quotient. Laughter is still the best medicine and we need a heavy dose of it these days.

• Find some way to serve others with your family. There’s so much to fear about what lurks in the dark alleys of the internet, but there’s just as many wonderful ideas out there on the Web that could provide a launching pad for a fun, rewarding service project.

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