Here at Kanakuk, we witness countless moments of joy every summer, but perhaps the sweetest moment occurs when Kampers and families reuni
Studies show that social media has affected our interpersonal communication offline. We take and share pictures, think of clever hashtags and vie for the most liked posts. While social media is a great way to stay in touch with our friends around the nation and globe during times of celebration, it is good to be intentional with how we spend our time on social media—especially when surrounded by those we love.
As the Executive Director and Founder of Link Year, a program focused on developing spiritual and emotional intelligence in recent high school graduates, we use periods of being unplugged to help cultivate emotional intelligence. In the last four years I have seen nothing but benefits from unplugging our students and engaging in community, quiet and freedom from distractions.
With the holiday season afoot, our families have a great opportunity to make the most of our time together, exercising interpersonal communication skills and recharging the bonds under our own roofs. Let your experiences this holiday season revolve around each other and set the tone for future family time.
I don’t want to grow up with my kids thinking their dad was always distracted. If we as parents model a healthy communication lifestyle for our own children, we set them up for greater success. Here are seven ways to unplug from social media and recharge family bonds while encouraging your teens to do the same. These practices might even supply some great posts for the year ahead!
1. #LaterGram: Yes, share your special moments—but experience them while they are happening. We used to take pictures to capture moments. Now we take them to create moments. As a result, we miss the moments.
2. #NoPhoneZone: When I grew up, we turned off the TV and sat around the supper table for a meal and quality time. We even asked to be dismissed! Now, the TVs are in our pockets. It takes a lot more intention to focus. When you make the table a #NoPhoneZone, it forces you to look at the faces across from you and engage in real conversation.
3. Create together: Make your favorite breakfast casserole, coffee cake or hot chocolate and enjoy it together. Take a photo of your delicious creation and share with friends.
4. Bundle Up: It might be cold outside, but don't let that stop you! Put on your new scarf or favorite Kanakuk sweatshirt and share some outdoor fun.
5. Play a Game: Friendly competition leads to fun conversation and memories. Who had the best impression or drawing?
6. #TBT: Take an afternoon to sift through the container full of old photos under the bed and reminisce about the fun your family has had. You could supply every #TBT for 2015!
7. #NoCellPhoneSunday: My wife and I faithfully power down our cells every Saturday night and do not turn them back on until Monday morning. This has been a huge blessing to our young family. Try it. Pick a day this holiday season to completely turn the phone off. You might be hooked and take a Sabbath each week!
Adam Donyes is the Executive Director and Founder of Link Year, Kanakuk Ministries’ post-high school program designed to build a solid foundation within each student. This helps participants develop socially and spiritually before entering a university setting. Participants unplug from all Internet and social media for four periods ranging from one to four weeks during the 9-month program. Donyes began his career as a worldview and apologetics teacher at a Christian high school near Kansas City. Here he developed a passion for developing spiritual and emotional intelligence in youth. He has been serving alongside Kanakuk in various roles for 14 years.