Think for a moment about the influence of technology and electronics upon our culture today. We have cell phones, laptop computers, iPods®, iPads®, e-books, GPS’s that talk to us, and handheld game systems. The ability to remain connected is what drives much of the technology industry today. Between text-messages, email, Twitter®, Facebook®, and blogs (web logs), it is possible for us to carry on conversations and conduct business for days without hearing the voice of another person. I have previously discussed how tragic I think this is.
As the parent of a teenager, I have seen this “technology overload” first hand. I must also say in all honesty that I am guilty of contributing to it. Children and teens today have a desire to stay connected to each other and know what is going on with each other at all times. To them, this is more than a desire, it is a need. I wonder how this steady diet of digital communication affects, or takes away from, other daily activities? I wonder how much face-time our children and teens trade off for screen-time? There is now a way to find out.
I was recently introduced to an organization called iShine. This organization is known for bringing family-friendly media options through television, music, and radio. iShine has recently developed and released a new online tool they call the Family Media Diet Calculator. The purpose of this tool is to provide a customized awareness to families in regards to various forms of media in comparison to how much time they spend plugged into real-life activity (reading, talking with friends, church services, etc). I really like the idea of this. Awareness is important because necessary and healthy changes can’t be made until there is a realization that things may be out of balance. From their press release:
“Parents nationwide will be able to plug in amounts of time their families spend texting, browsing online, consuming television and more. They will then be able to print a free custom analysis of where their families are spending their time in comparison to their involvement in recreational and faith-based activities along with family time and reading. The campaign is not an anti-technology movement. It is about use awareness and being intentional about the content.”
I do not endorse or recommend much. However, I believe this could be a valuable tool (absolutely free) for families to use in order to help made informed decisions as it relates to the media.