Raising Personable Children, Even If They're Glued To Phones | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Raising Personable Children, Even If They're Glued To Phones

Play associated audio

Weekend Edition Sunday is taking a look at how technology affects personal relationships. Along with romantic and workplace connections, family dynamics are shifting.

The Jordans are a classic example of a family trying to figure out how to use technology without feeling disconnected from one another. Sue and David have five kids: two off at college and three still at home.

On a Friday night, they're just finishing up a couple of delivery pizzas. They have laptops, and everyone has a cellphone, though only mom and dad and the oldest kids are allowed to have smartphones. They also have an iPad that everyone shares. Sue uses it most to connect with her daughter, Kelly, who is at college in Pennsylvania.

Kelly is a texting fiend. At one point when she was in high school, she was sending around 15,000 texts a month. Her parents had to take her phone away for a while as punishment.

The Jordans don't allow their two youngest kids — 11 and 13 years old — to be on Facebook. But they don't put limits on cellphones. The kids can use them at any time, and while they're talking around the kitchen table, 16-year-old Brian is quietly tapping out messages on his iPhone.

"The biggest limitations that we talk about all the time is just making sure that our kids still interact with each other, and [are] articulate in conversation with adults," Sue says. "And with our oldest son interviewing for jobs and things like that, we wanted to make sure that they had good eye contact."

As David often tells his kids, "It's a mix between having the technology, but you still have to be able to relate [to] and interact with people."

Sue says the technology has affected how much information they get from their children.

"Things can happen so quickly ... they can come home happy, and then all of the sudden things are upset because there was an exchange on the phone or something that you're not aware of," she says, adding, "You have no idea how fast their world's going."

The Jordans settle into a Friday night ritual. They sit down into the living room with the TV on. Sue's oldest son, Brendan, calls from Chicago.

The two younger boys fidget on the couch. David surfs through the channels, and Brian sits at the far end of the couch, still tapping out messages on that iPhone.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Little House,' Big Demand: Never Underestimate Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wilder's memoir reveals that she witnessed more violence than you'd ever know from her children's books. The South Dakota State Historical Society can barely keep up with demand for the autobiography.
NPR

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

The market for single-serving coffee pods is dominated by Keurig's K-Cups. But they aren't recyclable, and critics say that's making a monster of an environmental mess. Meet the K-Cup Godzilla.
NPR

Insurance Choices Dwindle In Rural California As Blue Shield Pulls Back

When Blue Shield Of California stopped selling individual health policies in many zip codes in 2014, even insurance agents were surprised. Blue Shield says it dropped out to keep premiums low.
NPR

Charles Townes, Laser Inventor, Black Hole Discoverer, Dies At 99

Physicist Charles Townes died Tuesday. He was a key inventor of the laser and won the Nobel Prize for his discovery in 1964. But his career didn't end there.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.