An article in the Sunday Styles section of the 11/11 NY Times comments on how hurricane Sandy affected people’s lives. “The storm provided a rare glimpse of a life lived offline. It drove some children crazy, while others managed to embrace the experience of a digital slowdown.” What struck me is how many families allow digital devices to be used during meal time. One mother likened the first days of the blackout to rehab. “It’s like coming off drugs,” “There’s a 48-hour withdrawal until they’re not asking about the TV every other minute.” The article cited Michelle Obama as using draconian rules about technology for her daughters (no TV, cell phones or computers during the week, except for homework). It is important to note that the tendency of parents to give their children immediate gratification without helping them to tolerate frustration. One woman commented “The problem I see us bumping against is how attached we adults are to our own digital devices.” What concerns me is how the use of digital devices becomes a way of life and replaces people really talking to each other and learning from each other. Conversation and communication takes a back seat. As therapists, I think it is important to explore this with our patients especially as families and couples come into therapy wanting to learn how to communicate better.

Dianne Heller Kaminsky, LCSW, BCD

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