Updated: Nov 12
Written by: Jacqlin Richards, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
These times of lockdown have created uncertainty and challenge for many. Especially for those of us who are also parents! We have a choice in how we respond to this new normal that has come about with connection in the online space taking precedence over the old-fashioned in-person, face-to-face kind. We have another choice now as we emerge from our bubbles and return to work and gathering as to how we move forward. School leaves the screen, and kids and adults are in close proximity again. Hooray!
Recently I had a bit of sadness going on. I didn't spot it at first. It came up as irritation one morning when my boys arrived home from their Dads and immediately began asking to 'show' me things on screens.
I've felt this irritation before many times. More recently, the time on devices increased inevitably during the lockdown circumstances as ‘school-time’ became more ‘screen-time!’
What I hadn’t got to was the sadness. When I felt it there under the irritation, I shared it with my boys. What this sharing led to was a beautiful, open conversation about when I was a kid. That back then, things were different. Very different.
That we played outside with our friends EVERY day, we used to ride off on adventures all day into the bush, climb trees, build forts and only come back when it was getting dark, the food we had taken with us had run out, and we were starving! We only watched TV on a Saturday morning. It was a treat back then, and it didn’t matter because we had so much fun playing.
Hanging out with all our friends who lived in the neighborhood. We would be outside all day, coming in only to eat and then straight back out to playing. A lot of time was spent playing games in the cul de sac street where we lived till well after the sun when down.
Now, it seems we've entered into a world where screen time connection is the preferred way to relate to one another in place of ‘old-fashioned’ in-person connection, and it’s playdates that are the once-a-week deal!
Talking with some of the parents I’m working with, it's becoming clearer that things have gotten a bit backward since our childhoods.
That it was staying INSIDE that used to be the punishment. “You can't go outside and play with Jimmy because you did [insert undesirable behavior/action here]….
Now, it's the other way around. Now, it’s a punishment to go OUTSIDE! “You’ve been on that screen for too long….go outside!”
“Go out and play! Be in nature! Get outdoors!”
I can see it. How things have slowly shifted this way over the last few decades and especially the most recent circumstances creating the place we now sit as parents.
I spoke with my boys about my sadness. Without charge or judgment around screens because that ain't helpful. We spoke from a balanced and integrated place around the impacts and benefits that screens are having in our lives. Especially in the most recent times. The really amazing things that the internet has brought to our lives and the not so amazing things to be aware of.
We spoke about in-person physical connection. I asked my boys what they thought was the one thing they couldn’t get from a screen connection with a family member or a friend. We came up with a touch.
You can’t get a hug through a screen! You can’t get a high 5 or fist pump!
You can’t touch someone's shoulder, receive a comforting hand on the back, a kiss on the cheek, or a nose rub without being in close physical proximity! We like nose rubs in our house.
You can’t get in-person, physical touch through a screen. And as humans, we need it to thrive. When we are babies, we need it to survive, and as adults, we need it to thrive.
And many of us ain't getting enough of it for obvious reasons in recent times, and no matter how entertaining screens are, it doesn’t touch the human need for touch!
It was a great conversation with my family, which ended in hugs, closeness, and card-playing for some afternoon! Before we headed out into the beautiful day.
This is a massive topic right now and hot off the back of viewing 'The Social Dilemma' documentary. I am very keen to open the discussion.
Jacqlin Richards, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Aka The FREEDOM Finder for Parents, Jacqlin is a Mother of 2, a Parent Empowerment Mentor, Speaker and Facilitator who is deeply passionate about bringing greater awareness to the way we raise our children. Raising empowered children takes empowered Parents and Jacqlin loves to walk alongside Men and Women as they empower themselves through her Mentorship and Programs into a very different way of being a Parent.