Bonding With Technology

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By T. M. Todorovich

 

 

A couple weeks ago, my four kids downloaded the Kim Kardashian game to their cell phones, logged in through game center, and made friends with one another. Listening to them speak of their photo shoots, the mean girl, clothing, and time limits was frustrating. I couldn’t get a word in and they certainly weren’t paying attention to a word I said. I have to admit I felt rather deflated and in the way. Instead of yelling, something I really wanted to do, I walked away and read a Jodi Picoult book. Okay, that part was a perk, but still – I wanted to spend time with my kids instead of them being absorbed into yet another game.

 

I must admit, although reluctantly, I play a game on my cell as well. I’m totally addicted to Farmville 2: Country Escapes. I take mini breaks to see what I can sell, what is ready to pick and plant, and what my animals are doing. Because of that, I would be hypocritical if I yelled at them for a silly game. As long as they were completing their chores, I let it go.

 

On top of the Kim Kardashian game, my kids spend a lot of time on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. My oldest daughter will at any given moment blurt out, “Ohmygod!” or my second child, Eric, will start ranting about something. My third child tends to suddenly become stricken by the giggles. I ask what’s wrong, or what’s funny, or what happened, and they say, “It’s on Tumblr!” My eyes roll in the back of my head until they hurt, my heart stops a minute, and I think, “My kids need a life and need to talk to one another instead of always being on their phone.

 

Last night, however, I realized something I had not previously seen. It is, afterall, difficult to see clearly through rolling eyes. Instead of being in their own little cyber world, my kids were all talking – and to one another! It was like a Christmas miracle in July.

Eric and Jessica spend hours discussing their next modeling job, who they are dating, and share one another’s joy when the other becomes an “A-lister” (I am not even sure what that means, but they get really excited about it). Even my fourteen year old son has joined the Kim Kardashian band wagon and is getting involved in the conversations. And on any other subject, he has nothing, and I mean nothing, in common with my other three!

 

I began watching closer and see my girls showing one another something on Tumblr. Or I listen as Eric tells me the latest news, or gossip, on Twitter. There are many times my kids and I talk to each other through tweets and Facebook comments. We sit around the living room discussing or laughing at something on Tumblr. When an important social issue is brought forth on social media, we read each other the status, tweet, or comment, and then we spend an hour discussing our own views, beliefs, and ideas.

 

I’ve learned very recently – this morning actually- that sometimes technology, games, memes, and tweets, aren’t always a bad thing. For my family, they open up dialog, provide a common interest, and create a unique interaction between my kids. For that reason, and that reason only, I love the Kim Kardashian game and am thankful it was created. Bonding is a wonderful thing, even if it is accomplished by a cell phone game.

 

Click here for a link to the publications written by Tina Toler Keel.

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