Last week, I was wondering how old my son will be when he gets his first smartphone. My husband and I still haven't decided the right age, but agree that it will be when he has reached the right balance of personal responsibility and social need. (We want him to understand the consequences of having the device, but don't want him to be the only member of his peer group without one.)
Even though we are many years away from when he does get a device, there are conversations that we can have with him now. And one of those is that having a personal device doesn't mean you have to consume separate content.
After reading Ipsos MediaCT’s annual LMX Family study, it sounds like the new norm is that a family is spending time in the same room together, but involved with their own devices. That scares me a little, as I realize that I do that with my husband now. He and I will be watching a show together after our son goes to sleep, but he'll also be reading an article on his iPad, and I'll be beating a family member at an online game.
That's not what I want for my family. I want us to do stuff together and stay focused on the same things. But in order to get there, I need to start with myself and engage with one piece of media at a time. I've learned that the best way to teach my son is by example, so it's time to start with me.
What is the media use like in your family? How many devices are going in addition to the television at one time? Let me know in the comments.