An emoji can’t replace a hug

We got quite excited when we were asked to be a National Unplugging Day partner. We were keen to help parents encourage their children to switch off their gadgets and see the benefits of spending more time engaging with their families, friends and nature, in the way ourJournals of a Lifetime do. Little did we realise that it’s us parents that are in need of the mostencouragement to unplug.

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MyFamilyClub.co.uk, a leading parenting website, found on average parents spend equivalent to four hours a day on their smartphones. The survey found that 31 per cent of respondents were least likely to give up their mobile devices, followed by their toothbrush (29% value this the most), soap (22%) and sleep (18%).

Some of us parents see the digital world as a modern-day version of a healthy social life, with Facebook as the cocktail bar, Twitter as the coffee shop and Snapchat being the school gates. Nice idea. Trouble is, it doesn’t involve all the healthy things that a balanced social life offers – eye contact, smiling, body language, and the nuances and closeness involved.

Yet our digital devices are so efficient that we’ve come to rely on them for some basic communication. How can we get the balance right?

MyFamilyClub’s CEO and Founder Gemma Johnson said, “As a parent I experience the struggle trying to juggle work and family life and the additional demands of existing in a digital world. We all lead busy lives but it is so important to lead by example with our device usage, boundaries are set by the parents first. As parents we have to take stock of the impact technology is having on all our lives and support our children who are growing up in a world which is dominated by technology.”

Quite. After all, an emoji can’t replace a real hug.

Support #Unplug2015 with @fromyoutome and pledge to #GoGadgetFree on the 28th June 2015 and beyond!

Visit www.fromyoutome.com to be inspired to capture and share family stories.