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Is Technology Fracturing Your Family?

For the past two decades, I have been developing advanced technologies to help us understand how the brain functions and changes over time. My group at UCLA invented a brain scanning technique that can detect the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease decades before people experience obvious symptoms. Read More

Wow! Someone finally said it!

Nice to read an article about this :) Of course, it wasn't in the newspaper delivered by the newspaper boy on my front porch, so I guess to some extent we are all victims.

I would love to throw my cell phone in the river, yet when I accidentally forget it at home I find myself feeling very awkward all day.

I will be quitting my job in the next two months trying to figure out how to get my family back on track, because I feel technology as well as the two-parent income has put a lot of strain on what is important to me...I am hoping all is not too late.

Thanks for the great article!

Well Said!

I am a firm believer in eating dinner as a family. I am still a teenager myself but I enjoy it.

I was glad to see that someone else believes in it too. I love being able to talk as a family. We all get time to catch up with each other about our days or discuss anything new. We may be busy at times but we do try to make sure we have a family dinner.

You see those dinners where it's a couple or even a family and all they are doing is sitting there with their noses in their phones texting and not even talking to each other! I have a phone myself but we have a rule of no texting at the table and I do not text 24/7. It irritates me seeing situations like that. I find technology to be helpful at times but not to the point where I depend on it all the time.

This article was great and made me happy seeing someone talk about family dinners. We talk about it at home and I now find it to be very important. Thanks for the article!

Mind Blowing!

The dinner table has always represented a place for family to come and spend time together. So much happens around the dinner table; lives are shared, manners are learned, socializing becomes a skill, and many others.

The next time you are in a public place, look around you. How many people are focused on their phones instead of the people they are with? Just last night at the restaurant where I work, a family including parents, two kids, and grandparents sat down to eat. Going out with the whole family, eating dinner and spending time together sounds like some quality family time, right? However, the entire time the family was gathered together the two kids, both under the age of ten; sat in their chairs, headphones on, glued to the games they were playing on the electronic device in front of them. They completely shut out the world and family around them. Never once did they engage with the older generation.

I would say that 80% of the people who come to our restaurant to eat dinner are on their phones most of the time, instead of interacting with the person across the table. It is sad that instead of enjoying the people you are with you are enjoying a non-personal object.

When technology becomes more important than family, a disconnect is caused. Family just becomes a name or title, instead of an actual being.

Thank you for your post and your insight.

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Gary Small is a professor of psychiatry at UCLA. He directs the Memory and Aging Research Center and the UCLA Center on Aging.

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