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CONVERGE | Technology

To Stay Connected, Why Not Disconnect?

June 21, 2019

To bond as a family, time offline is essential. Here's how technology can help you reconnect.

 

Fast, reliable internet is essential for the modern family. From elementary school onwards, kids who lack the tools to navigate the web fall behind their better-equipped peers. However, with everyone stuck behind their own devices, vital connections can get lost. 

Of course, you can't go back to a time before the smartphone. And who would want to? But, there are ways to help your family bond the old-fashioned way. That means talking face to face—using voices, not instant messaging—and sharing stories of your day, not Insta stories.

Take Back Control

You don't need to be on vacation to unplug once in a while. Self-control apps such as Flipd and Forest help adults and teens alike detach from their phones by blocking access for preset periods. 

Students and homeworkers can install time management software such as RescueTime. These apps track time spent on distracting websites and allow you to block those websites for a focused work or study session. 

There's more to reducing screen time than improving productivity. Experts recommend keeping mealtimes free of devices to allow the family to talk. With a physical "phone jail," you can padlock the family's phones inside a literal cage at important times. Alternatively, use parental control apps such as Google's Family Link to remotely lock kids' phones.

The Social Network

Panoramic Wifi gives you more control over your home network, direct from your cellphone (or computer). You can create user profiles, with nicknames and icons, and see how much time each family member is spending online. You can also track individual devices and switch off their network access individually. 

With Panoramic Wifi, you can free up time for essential family connections, such as meals. Just pause internet access for hand-held devices while you eat together, then restore it when you're done. 

Using the help of technology, you can also ensure a good night's sleep. Sleep experts recommend turning off devices as much as two hours before bedtime. Even if half an hour is more realistic for your family, use scheduled “bedtime mode" to disconnect devices well ahead of time.

And, while not many technological solutions are proof against a determined teen boy, Panoramic Wifi can shield younger children from stumbling on unsuitable material. Simply set parental controls and protected browsing for each device using your choice of provider.

As with all great inventions, the internet cuts two ways. With the right solutions, you can connect both online and off.

 

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