24 Hours with a Digital Family

This week I was lucky enough to present at the Sandbox Summit at MIT. For all of the wonderful people I met at the conference and our readers who were not able to attend, I wanted to do a summary and link to some of my citations here:


-Mom wakes everyone up with her remote control iPod alarm clock

-Kids check Facebook and cell phones

-Mom uses a site like RelishRelish.com which helps her menu plan for the week

-Kids play some xbox before school


-Mom feeds dog with iKibble an app that tracks your dog’s feeding schedule

-Eats breakfast with Dad on a business trip via Skype

-The carpool uses Zimride to help coordinate carpooling

-Family uses a time management software like PlumLife that sends schedules and tasks to each family member


-Little Charlotte has to choose to use RedRover for a playdate, play on a virtual world or draw on her iPad using Quill.

-Mikey watches robotics videos on MIT’s open course ware for his robotics badge, and then uses Teachertube and Kahn Academy for homework help.

-Chelsea uses Addapster on her phone to study for the SAT, then she TigerTexts her crush and attends a cybertherapy session about some of the thinspiration videos she was watching

-Mom checks WebMD for her weird rash and then uses Stickk to keep to her weight loss goals.


-The kids beg mom to have their phones at the table, insisting they are Tweeting for the KFC scholarship.

-They plan a Geocaching trip for the weekend.

-Mom and Dad tell their soon-to-be-driving teenager that she either needs to use iGaurdian driving app or iCurfew to check in when she gets places.


-The family plays Wii or Kinect together.

-They use RottenTomatoes to pick a movie and then decide to set-up a Synchtube to watch videos together. Mom uses RunPee to figure out when to go to the bathroom.


-Mom uses the Bedtime Stories app to put kids to bed.

What is Good About Families Going Digital?

Technology brings great ease and efficiency into our lives. Technology also allows member to access medical resources, homework help and distant family members. Most importantly it can keep families connected to each other and give them new ways to bond and play together.

What is Not So Good About Families Going Digital?

Technology can also make it so we never get ‘off-times’ and our children have very little mindwandering time which can be very restorative for the brain. Home life, school life and social life is also blended when technology comes into the home. Kids are constantly engaged with friends, school work and private life on their mobiles and computers. There seems to be very little sacred space with technology–sleep is interrupted, dinner time and communication with parents who now compete with their child’s cell phone. Technology can also encourage more quantity connections and games over quality. This also typically emphasizes a lower savoring capacity with an emphasis on instant rather than endurance and long-term joy.

What Can We Do:

We need to encourage technology to be imaginative and bring long-term joy. We also must make sure that sleep stays precious and we keep boundaries in the home by thinking about ‘pausing’ to savor, re-think and change focus when we switch into different areas of our lives.

Video coming soon…


Boy Meets Girl: How Facebook Functions in Modern Romance

Experience sampling during fMRI reveals default network and executive system contributions to mind wandering

The First Thing Young Women Do in the Morning: Check Facebook [STUDY]

Facebook Status Updates Tell the Story of Romance Gone Awry [INFOGRAPHIC]

Photos From Flickr Users: AllyZally, Cheetah100, PinkStock, DG Jones

Kids’ use of electronic media at night linked to problems

Preteens and Glowing Screens



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  1. 5/6/11: Articles for Parents this Week | Radical Parenting - May 6, 2011

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