Families and New Technologies
All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina
The family is the smallest and most crucial building block of society. “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”– the world is one family, says the Indian Scriptures. In the year 1989 UN passed a resolution proclaiming 15 May as The International Year of the Family. In 1993, the observation was rechristened as “The International Day of Families”. It is an opportunity to promote awareness of families’ issues and increase the knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic processes affecting families. Families and family-oriented policies and programmes are vital for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
Families around the world are changing, many becoming smaller. The diminishing number of extended families and the increasing number of single-parent families put into sharp focus social protection. Evolving new technologies, migration, and demographic shifts, urbanisation dramatically shapes the world and impacts individuals and families. The 2021 observance of the International Day of Families focuses on the effects of new technologies on the well-being of families
The development of any country is linked to the development of society and families. The family is the smallest building block of society and the most important and the foundation of society. The most formative years of one’s lives are spent growing up with our families. Celebrating the family is an opportunity to dwell on the issues relating to the families and increase knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic processes affecting families.
Worldwide, women are increasingly taking part in the formal and informal labour force while assuming a disproportionate burden of the household work compared to men, and work-family balance is more challenging to achieve. The imperative of ensuring gender equality in the family is, therefore, gaining more attention. There are still some countries globally (4%) where women are not eligible for maternity leave.
It did not matter how big our house was; it mattered that there was love in it.Peter Buffett
The families who bear the brunt whenever crisis dawns, sheltering the members from harm, caring for the children, and continuing their work responsibilities. How else we can understand many migrant workers making intense efforts to go back to their homes, being with the family being the driving force during the COVID. A crisis is a time when you look to your family and bank on their support.
Often the family is appreciated but not given priority in developmental efforts. It is paramount that the stability of the communities largely depends on the strength of the family. The importance of investing in family-oriented policies to achieve specific targets under sustainable developmental goals is being stressed. The same achievement of development goals depends on how well, families are empowered to achieve these goals.
Another important aspect of family life is the work-family balance. In pursuit of achieving materialistic benefits, many spend disproportionate time at work. Early burnouts, becoming directionless at a very young age, increase lifestyle-based diseases challenging the health care systems are all being experienced by societies. Many are searching to find ways of optimising work-family balance. Elderly members of the family playing an essential role in restoring the balance.
The prolonged COVID pandemic demonstrated the importance of digital technologies for work, education, and communication. The pandemic has accelerated technological changes that had already been underway both in society and at work, including the expanded use of digital platforms and related technological innovations like cloud computing and the use of big data and algorithms. The COVID pandemic brought another worrying aspect creeping into the lives of the families. With all the family members forced to stay back at home for a longer duration, the space constraints on sharing and learning to live together and still discharge the work burden the family members, especially women.
An increasing number of families with working parents is changing the contours of the family. Newer support systems are being sought and emerging. With many people pursuing their careers in far off places searching for greener pastures, a new dimension the societies need to put in place a support system for elderly care.
Family need not necessarily always be blood relations.
The people in your lives
Those who want you in theirs
The ones who accept you for who you are
The ones who love you no matter what.
Time to introspect, what family means to you, and how you can get close to the people you love. After all, no matter what, in the journey of one’s life, a family is family.
*This is modified and enhanced ToonLogs on “International Family Days” written a year back.
International Day of Families – SciComm @ NIAS (niascomm.in)