Benefits of Storing Devices in a Family Docking Station
Most parents can remember when home computers started having an internet connection. How could we forget when the actual process of connecting came with one of the most obnoxious sounds ever created?
Our kids, however, live in a much different reality.
The days of limited connection are completely foreign to kids growing up today. According to Deloitte’s annual tech survey, “On average, U.S. households now have a total of 22 connected devices.”1
Clearly, constant connectivity is the norm today.
As more electronic devices continue to pop up around the house, it can become a challenge to keep track of all of them. Not to mention keeping them all powered.
A family docking station can be as simple as a spot on the counter next to an outlet, a special shelf, or even just a basket where you can all keep your devices.
You can also find family charging ports or multi-device charging docks. A quick online search will show you a whole host of device organizers replete with LED lights, USB ports, QI wireless charging slots, and more.
The obvious benefit of charging stations for multiple devices is convenience. They provide a simple way to cut down on clutter and avoid losing charging cords. But smart charging stands can be helpful in an unexpected way that brings surprisingly big benefits for your family.
Healthy Device Use in the Home
Most parents plan to get their child a cell phone at some point. The questions—and they’re important—are what kind and when. Once your child has their own device, however, the work as a parent is far from done.
Responsible tech use is a critical skill today so teaching it is a crucial parental responsibility. And a family docking station can be a really useful tool in that effort.
This is a designated place where all your family devices can hang, while you spend undistracted time together.
Here are a few times of the day you might consider asking your kids to stash their devices in the family docking station.
In Bedrooms at Night
For years now, experts have been advocating against kids bringing cell phones into their bedrooms before bedtime.2
As reported by the New York Times, “Among those [children] who had access to a screen device at bedtime at least three times a week, there was an 88 percent increased risk for not getting enough sleep, and a 53 percent increased risk of poor sleep quality.”3
Interestingly, the mere presence of a media device in the room—even if not used before going to sleep—has shown to disrupt sleep.4
And the ramifications are greater than just a little bit of grumpiness.
Research shows, “Those who don’t sleep enough perform more poorly in school and are at greater risk of developing obesity. Sleep deprivation is also linked to mental health issues including depression and anxiety among both teens and adults.”5
Years of research have revealed the benefits of regular family dinners, which include: “a positive impact on children’s values, motivation, personal identity, and self-esteem.”6 But those benefits are lost if everyone at the table is glued to their own handheld screen.
A nationwide survey found, “nearly every (98 percent) parent surveyed agrees that disconnecting from devices during mealtime improves family bonding [but] more than half (52 percent) of parents have been told by their children to put their device away during meals.”7
An easy solution: set a rule that every family member (parents included) put their device in the family charging station before sitting down to dinner.
While Doing Homework
Cell phones combine countless individual tools into a single handheld device. This is the excuse many of us use for keeping them close at all times, and likely an excuse you’ve heard from your kid for keeping a phone close while doing homework.
It’s true that some homework might call for a quick Google search or use of the standard calculator app. But the drawbacks of keeping a phone nearby are showing to outweigh the benefits.
In one study, researchers divided participants into three groups and asked them to complete simple problem-solving tasks: group one kept smartphones on the table next to them, group two stowed phones in bags or backpacks nearby, and group three left their phones in a different room altogether. The results were clear: the closer the phone, the worse the participants did at solving novel problems.8
If you want your child to be able to focus, keep that phone in the family docking station until homework is complete.
Multitask your Family Docking Station
You might be in the market for a charging station to avoid cord clutter, but why not make the most of the charging dock you settle on? We live in a digital world, there’s really no escaping that. But there is a lot we can do as parents to help our young children take gradual steps into that world and our older children thrive once fully immersed.
If you’re looking for kid-friendly devices that ease that transition for kids, check out Gabb Watch, Gabb Phone, or Gabb Phone Plus. If you’re looking for new ideas or credible information on parenting in a digital world, check out Gabb’s library of online resources.
1 Connectivity and Mobile Trends Survey | Deloitte
2 Youth Screen Media Habits and Sleep | National Library of Medicine
3 What Keeps Kids Up at Night? Cellphones and Tablets | The New York Times
5 Analysis: Teens are sleeping less. Why? Smartphones | PBS NewsHour
6 The Importance of Family Dinners | University of Florida