Alone-together: Why Families Are Drifting Apart Despite Spending More Time Together


Families these days often have all members with their own gadgets. Phones, tablets, laptops, and other technologies are present in a typical home. With the ongoing virus forcing people to shelter in place, we now spend more time at home and with our family. But even with the increased number of hours spent with each family member each day, it did not necessarily bring families closer. If any, many kids say they feel alone now more than ever.

Is Technology to Blame for the Rise of Alone-together Families?

SherryTurkle, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology coined the “term alone-together”. This labels our heightened disconnection despite use spending more time with our families. Alone-together makes kids feel alone even if they are with their family members.

Most people these days are focused on their gadgets than the people around them. Many of us rely on technology to communicate with others but forgot how to create meaningful connections in real life. The results are kids feeling alone and longing for their parent’s attention.

Parents know that too much screen time can have devastating results for children. So, some try to limit the screen time of kids. We try to create meaningful connections while all family members are present only to break the momentum by checking our own phones.

Sometimes, it is hard to stay away from our phones and other technologies. Some parents rely on these to communicate with their colleagues and stay updated with news at work. Others can’t control their social media use, the urge to document everything, and stay connected with our loved ones.

When kids get mixed signals from the behavior and model of parents, they get confused as to what their parents truly want. If they are to limit a kid’s screen time, why are adults allowed to use their phone whenever they like and in the middle of family meals and conversations? In reality, we can’t simply blame technology for the increasing number of alone-together families, but how each member makes use of the available technology.

What Parents Can Do to Make the Most Out of FamilyTime

Thankfully, it is never too late to build better relationships with your family. The key is to have each family member’s cooperation so that you can finally reduce alone-together from ruining your family life. Here’s how.

We spend more time on our gadgets to ease boredom, feel good, and pass time. If we keep them engaged, we can spend less time on our screens and focus on improving family relationships. It starts with improving the communication among family members and by removing the temptation to look on your phone.

Thankfully, there are tons of fun activities we can do with kids that are appropriate for their age. Consider the interests of each family member and think of ways to incorporate their interest. Let all members leave their gadgets in their room and to focus on the activity instead.

What does a new kitchen layout, a better counter top ,or even replacing your old kitchen floor with a European white oak engineered floor have to do with family time? How your kitchen look and feels can affect how members utilize the kitchen. Note that family activities that occur in the kitchen involve all the senses and can contribute to better family life.

The kitchen is called the heart of every home for a reason. This can be a place where all members can gather around to prepare, cook, and eat home-cooked meals. Many of our fond memories are in our childhood kitchen, and it is time we bring back such a nice tradition.

With a nice kitchen renovation, we can entice everyone to join in the fun and leave their phones off the kitchen. The little events that happen inside the kitchen teach kids a sense of responsibility, creativity, and passion. It is easier to open our hearts and strike a conversation with family members while preparing delicious and healthy meals. We can even teach them to be more hospitable after they learn some great recipes, and they can invite friends over to hang out and enjoy their creations.

Every member must help around the house. Even little kids can develop a sense of responsibility early on if we teach them to share responsibilities inside the home. This is one good way to spend more quality time with the family than spend time together while using your own gadgets.

Make at least an hour or two doing chores with the whole family. Little kids can clean up after their toys while older kids can help by making their own bed, taking out the trash, and sweeping the floor. When family members work together at the same time, even the most repetitive and tiring chores can be a bonding time one will cherish for a long time.

We cannot deny that technology makes it easier for us to communicate and connect with our loved ones. But our wrong and extended use of gadgets can also be the reason why our family life is not suffering. The earlier we start addressing alone-togetherness at home, the better our family life will be.


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