It can be difficult to strike a good balance between technology and family-oriented activities within the home. For instance, should you allow a TV and video games in the family room? What boundaries can you set? Let’s go over some ways to incorporate technology into your home while still keeping it family-focused.
Studies show that kids ages eight to 18 spend more than seven hours a day using entertainment media, which translates to more than 50 hours a week in front of a screen, says The Huffington Post. The more time kids spend in front of the computer and TV, the less time they’re outside getting fresh air and exercise, interacting with people, and maintaining friendships. The line between technology and family time is becoming an ever-widening gap for many reasons. According to Psychology Today, technology gives kids independence from their parents’ involvement in their social lives, resulting in a loss of connection between both parties.
So how can you close that gap and have a healthy blend of technology within your family room at home? A lot has to do with the physical set-up of the room. Rather than simply ban TVs, video games consoles and computers from the living room completely, set ground rules about their use. Perhaps your kids are allowed an hour of screen time a day, while you may increase that number to two or three on the weekends.
Instead of having electronics sprawled about the living room, it’s imperative to keep them all in one space, preferably hidden for when guests come over, or to set boundaries for daily electronics use. A great way to achieve this is through a custom made entertainment center that acts as a warehouse for all your AV equipment. Featuring hinged doors, you can easily shut the door on shelves containing TVs, video games, consoles, computers, and accessories. Such as entertainment center looks like a large decorative cabinet from the outside yet contains plenty of storage for all the technology in your house. Consider built-in storage bins, roll-out shelves, and adjustable drawer dividers to further compartmentalize your space.
Boost the Entertainment Value
One way to keep a family room just that – a FAMILY room – is to concentrate on interactive video games that allow the whole family to participate. However, you can take the family room concept further than simply a media room, to incorporate other levels of play. For instance, you can add a pool table, bumper pool table, card table, air hockey or foosball table to the room in an effort to expand the entertainment offerings. Now, it’s not just a room for either/or activities (i.e., just watching your kids play video games); rather, it’s a room that opens up the entertainment possibilities to include all interests.
By designating distinct spaces in your family room for each activity or member of the family, you can create various play zones where everyone can co-exist at once yet do what they want. For instance, a cubby containing a computer, printer and desk allows quiet time for homework, while a comfortable beanbag in a corner allows for a cozy reading nook. The TV area can be in another corner for those times when the kids want to play video games or you want to watch the big game. A three-quarter wall in another area of the room is perfect for little ones to play with stuffed animals and toys while the older ones play video games – again, separate yet together.
When incorporating technology into your family room, take everyone’s needs into consideration and craft a comfortable retreat that everyone feels at home in.