The offensive odour of burnt food filled the whole house and was almost choking their five year old son who was playing a game on his dad’s tab and the little three year old princess watching a cartoon on the TV, both in the sitting room close to the kitchen. A few minutes before that, Sandra who was making akara (bean cakes) on that Saturday morning had rushed out of the kitchen to pick up her phone in the corridor where she was charging it. She had done some chatting there earlier on in the day and there was some ‘important gist’ she does not want to miss. When she picked up her phone, she already had 136 whatsapp messages from family and friends all over. As she was replying and smiling to herself, the sound of her coughing children brought her back to the REAL world.
Michael her husband was having a very ‘important’ skype meeting with his business partners from China in the room. This had started since 6am and his children had not even set their eyes on him that morning. Gradually, they are beginning to get used to hearing their dad and mum talk to them only when they need to be corrected or spanked, which makes them prefer being at their granny’s house during weekends and holidays.
Although Sandra and Michael have been married and living together for over six years and are in love with each other, you hardly find them talk at home, let alone have family time with the children. Even on weekends, when they are at home with the children, finding each of them without his or her phone or tablet is impossible, as though they’ve been ‘soul-tied’ to it. Each individual living in that house is a community on its own.
This has somehow influenced times of making serious decisions. By default, communication is done either via phone call or chat. Unknown to them, technology is gradually eroding their rich family soil that may some day lead to a valley.
How can family time still be part this digital age?
Photo Credit: Eniola Fadairo at ABC Space