by Heidi Indahl
Technology is everywhere. As parents it can be tempting to paint technology as a “bad guy” to be avoided at all costs, but there are great ways to use technology in positive ways to build relationships and share your faith.
Here are four ways that your family can perform “random acts of electronic kindness” this week:
1. Provide Technology Assistance to a Senior Citizen
Seniors are increasingly using technology to connect with family members around the globe. Many of them may not be aware, however, that they can change their display settings to a brightness, color, and/or size that may be easier for their eyes. They can even change click speeds on their mouse and various keyboard settings to account for their hand and finger dexterity.
Stop by an assisted living facility and you will find many seniors who can benefit from brief tutorials on how to set up and use their computer. You may even consider having your teen put together a flier offering technological help to post at the local senior center, library, or assisted living home. Next time you visit a relative, ask if they have any questions on using the technology that you can help with.
2. Leave Positive Reviews
Online reviews can literally make or break a business, especially in competitive industries such as hospitality services. If you have a positive experience at a hotel, restaurant, or a favorite local store, take the time to leave a review. You’ll make someone’s day.
Don’t forget to review your favorite authors, either—it may be the biggest “payment” they get, and reviews on bookselling websites such as Amazon and Goodreads make a big difference. Even young children can be involved in leaving short reviews for their favorite titles. Feedback also helps smaller publishers (like Peanut Butter & Grace!) have better ratings and circulation, boosting exposure online.
3. Contribute to a Positive Social Media Environment
If you and/or your teen are using social media, work to create a positive environment by sharing uplifting memes, blocking negative people and groups, and liking pages that support your family goals and values. As a Catholic person, consider using social media to get to know a religious order. Teach your teens how to keep their social-media house as “clean” as their actual house. This might not seem like an act of kindness, but with all of the online interactions that happen in a day, contributing to a positive climate can literally bless thousands of people in one day. Just a reminder, each family should carefully discern the appropriate timing and use of social media sites by teens.
4. Recycle Your Electronics
Did you know that many electronic devices have batteries and/or other components that are dangerous to dispose of in a landfill? Electronic devices need to be recycled through special programs. Many big box stores like Best Buy and Target have recycling programs for smaller devices, some small businesses will refurbish still-useable electronics for low income families, and communities usually have a center or procedure for recycling other types of devices. Find out what your community has to offer and participate in recycling programs for a random act of electronic kindness towards our planet.