in Family, Technology

Sharing a Single Family Computer

Katie Reid writes about the idea of returning to the single family computer as a way to heal the screen time issues hitting many families today:

Many of the digital anxieties we have today could, at least in theory, be addressed by returning to a single, shared family device. The shared family desktop was vital to our lives, yet at the same time, it remained quiet and unobtrusive, serving the family unit proudly whenever called upon. You could still get lost for hours playing Space Cadet Pinball or waiting for your crush to log on to AIM, but it’s hard to imagine developing an unhealthy addiction or needing digital wellness tools to help manage your screen time with one shared computer. While the personal nature of devices today makes it easier to isolate and keep our online habits private, the shared family desktop offered a transparent and communal, albeit old-fashioned, approach to keeping parents more actively engaged in their child’s screen time by being around while their child used the internet.

There’s no one size fits all solution for how technology and your family can live together peacefully. Kids from the same parents can have vastly different reactions and addictions related to tech. But I fear for families that don’t have some sort of plan around how and why they allow various technologies into their homes. More and more, the devices we throw in front of our kids are being designed to suck them in and never let them go.