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  • Writer's pictureJohan Smith

Parents: our servant becomes the executioner (1)

Alas… the combination of technology, screens, internet and media have become one of the executioners of relationships today. Technology, which should serve you and me and our relationships, has become the very thing that drives us further and further away from people. Families don’t communicate. Each person is on a different screen. Friends? A circle of friends is supposed to socialise and enjoy each other, but everyone is engaged with someone else outside of the circle.

You can just carefully observe people in a restaurant: often everyone is busy on his or her cellphone or tablet. There’s hardly any socialising, eye contact and amiable conversation. At home, dad is regularly on his laptop, mom watches television and the children are either sitting in front of the television, or having a fun time hanging out with their friends on the cellphone. Without any doubt, technology isn’t doing marriages and families any good. No, it’s damaging relationships on a large scale nowadays.

Omar Bradley says it so unequivocally and correctly:

If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.

Because I often speak at schools and churches about relationships, as well the dangers and correct use of technology and social media, many people talk to me about it. I regularly listen to old and young people’s stories about technology and social media. At schools I often hear from headmasters and teachers that parents, with the cellphone glued to their ear, fetch their children from school. There isn’t even time for a little hug, kiss or decent ‘hello’. It happens regularly. Some schools have even sent newsletters about this to parents. Thus, the example that parents set nowadays regarding the right and clever use of technology, is unfortunately deplorable.

So, we boast that humankind has never been as connected. After 34 years’ experience working with young people and families, regular constructive input into their lives and very regular talks about, among other topics, “the dangers and correct use of technology and social media”, I cannot disagree strongly enough with this. I’m convinced that humanity, specifically in marriages and the family, has never been as disconnected as now. The quality of marital and family relationships is deteriorating. It’s in reverse gear like never before! Dad and mom, act and control technology, internet and screens in your home.

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