Hi-Tech Family Time: Five Tips on Using Technology to Reconnect with Your Kids

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Gathering the family around the kitchen table for a board game or in the living room for a movie used to be the norm for family night. Technology has changed that. Family time now competes with video games, computers, and mobile devices. According to recent Vision Critical survey conducted for Orville Redenbacher Canada, more than half of Canadian parents (53%) feel that computers limit family time together. 

videogame-family-bonding“Typically, the use of technology comes naturally to the younger generation while parents and grandparents struggle with it – pitting ‘digital natives’ against ‘digital immigrants’ at home,” said Canadian technology expert Marc Saltzman. “Computers, gaming systems and other forms of technology may feel limiting to parents who are not technologically well versed, but they actually provide an opportunity for family bonding, while empowering kids to teach their parents something new.”

A majority of Canadian parents seem to agree with Saltzman, with eight-in-ten (80%) stating they would have no problem joining their children in a video game. However, parents who feel they aren’t as tech-savvy as their kids can feel intimidated by making this transition.

To help, here are five tips to make the foray into hi-tech family time easier:

  1. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it: To avoid looking like a complete “N00b” in front of the kids, try out the games when kids aren’t around to get used to them. Don’t worry, the game can’t “break” – but be sure not to accidentally erase any “saved game” files.
  2. Pick the right genre: Not all games appeal to everyone. Choose games that put the whole family on a level playing field, like music-related games, or games that lend themselves to group play.
  3. Switch platforms: If TV-based video consoles and wireless controllers are too intimidating, try engaging with kids on another platform such as a computer or tablet. For example, there are many good multiplayer iPad games available for both game-savvy and not-so-game-savvy folks.
  4. It’s not all about games: With the convergence of technology, many gaming consoles can be used for more than just game time. Try watching online videos or streaming movies. Voice activated technology on some consoles mean you don’t need to get bogged down by controllers.
  5. Ask the kids: As parents we’re used to being the teacher. Turn the tables and ask your kids for a tutorial. They’ll enjoy the role as expert and you’ll get some quality family time before the gaming has even begun.

When enjoying your hi-tech family time, don’t forget the snacks. The Orville survey also found that the majority of parents (seven-in-ten) feel snacks play an important role in family time.

“Nothing draws the family to the living room faster than the smell of freshly popped popcorn, and each family member can pick their favourite – Smart Pop for Mom, Spicy Nacho for Dad and Buttery for the kids,” said Annabelle Nogueira, Senior Brand Manager for Orville Redenbacher Canada.

Get the gang together with Orville Redenbacher Canada’s family night giveaway ($250 Cdn value).

This post was sponsored by Orville Redenbacher.
From October 25th to October 27th, 2011 an online survey was conducted among 1,000 randomly selected Canadian parents of children aged 4-17 who are Angus Read Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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