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College of Human Ecology

K-State Specialist: Take time away from technology at home

Thursday, April 5, 2007

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Technology - computers, cell phones, mp3 players and such -make information and entertainment readily available.

Too much of a good thing can harm personal relationships, though, said Charlotte Shoup Olsen, Kansas State University Research and Extension family systems specialist.

With parents and children vying for time on the computer or three children each tuned in to their own mp3 player, interaction between family members may be nil, Olsen said. Screen time can replace personal interaction with family and friends, health-promoting physical activity, and other personal growth opportunities, such as reading a book or researching a topic for a school paper using multiple resources at a library.

Separating appropriate use from abuse can challenge parents, said Olsen, who offered these tips for using technology in the home:

* Place the family computer in shared space - a corner of the family room or kitchen.

* Limit computer time, and monitor use.

* Set boundaries for the Internet, so children do not view it as the only source of information.

* Check the content of interactive computer/video games, and don´t be afraid to say "no."

* Model appropriate use, while continuing personal and family-style activities such as reading a book, game night, cooking together or taking a walk as a family after dinner.

* Turn off technology during family meals and activities.

* Balance time with technology and time without.

* Encourage kids to share technology tips they learn at school.

"Establishing guidelines - or rules - for use and posting them near the computer can be helpful in curbing disagreements," said Olsen, who advised: "Make technology fit into your lifestyle, without letting it drive your lifestyle."

More information on managing family relationships successfully is available at K-State Research and Extension offices and on the Extension Web site: www.oznet.ksu.edu.

K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan.

Story by: Nancy Peterson

To look at other news releases, check out our web page at http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/news/

This article was posted on Thursday, April 5, 2007, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.