Parents, it's time we put down our phones

Aug 4, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. ET

Like it or not, technology is distancing us from our children. If you’re in the minority and don’t cave (or let your kids cave) to the constant cravings for communications, good for you. The rest of us… aren’t doing so well. In fact, according to Common Sense Media, 77 percent of parents feel their teens get distracted by technology devices and don’t pay attention when they’re together. And the kicker: 41 percent of teens felt exactly the same way about their parents.

We’re missing out on real time with our kids because our screen time is taking over. No matter how often we vow to do better, too often we get sucked right back in, not realizing all we’re missing out on.

To show families that they can survive without technology and actually have fun (gasp!), #HatchKids teamed up with Fruitocracy® and took a group of Hatch tweens on a camping adventure with their parents. The goal of the trip was to give everyone the chance to disconnect from their technology to reconnect with one another. No phones, no iPads, no nothing — all day.

The results were pretty amazing. The kids and parents both discovered how much fun exploring the outdoors can be.

Interestingly, it was the parents who reported missing their phones more than the tweens missed them. Parents and tweens from all four families, however, agreed that they wanted to spend more time doing interactive, technology-free activities like this one. All the kids said they would rather spend time outside with their parents than stay indoors with their phones and computers. (They like us better than their phones — they really do!)

If camping isn’t your thing, fear not. There are plenty of other technology-free ways to have fun. For example:

  • Go on a hike together. No one said you need tents and a fire to get outdoorsy. Just hit the woods (or loyal playground!), and see what you discover.
  • Get crafty. Dig through the old art drawer, grab some magazines, and make a family collage. Explain to the kids that they can cut out anything that makes their family special or unique. Hang it up so everyone remembers the teamwork!
  • Check out the stars. Everyone can bond over the wonder of the night sky, and star charts are easy to find online. Print out a few, and get charting.

As parents, we can start the initiative to make #DisconnectToReconnect a reality in our daily lives so that our memories down the road are of what we truly care most about: one another.

Watch more #Hatch videos and learn more about our program.

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