Although the DiscoverSkills site IS my “business” site and not intended to be a “family blog”, there are times that I just can’t help but include family events, especially those that relate to the technology that we teach about on the site and at our computer lab in Lincoln, NE.

And last night a family event happened that I just HAD to write about here.

If you’ve read any of my other posts about Apple iTunes and iDevices (iPads, iPods, iPhones) you know that although I’m not an “Apple guy”, I LOVE their mobile devices, and often recommend them to folks looking for easy-to-use, portable access to the Internet and Email.

I’ve even put out an eBook that talks about using iTunes and iDevices.
You can CLICK HERE to read more about it.

But I’ll also be the  first one to admit, that mobile devices that are as cool as iPads and iPhones can also become addicting to the point that accidentally leaving them at home as you make a trip to the grocery store can cause the “shakes” to set in.

Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but the truth is, as well all become more tied into our mobile devices, the potential to overuse them and neglect personal time with family and friends, is greatly increased.

And that brings me to last night’s family event.

Over New Year’s, my family gets together in Lawrence, KS, at our oldest son’s house. With 7 grand kids under 9, and a 10 year old of our own, it always turns out to be a great, but tumultuous time, and this year was no exception.

But what was interesting this particular year, was that every one of the adults, including my wife’s mom, brought along either their iPad or an iPhone. Needless to say, as everyone visited and caught-up with family happenings, the iDevices were in hand, taking us to emails and Web sites that supported whatever direction the conversations took.

We were definitely a “connected family“.

But here’s the cool part.

As the family conversations headed into the evening hours, and the kids settled down into their own games and fun down in the basement, the adults decided to play a game.

No, it wasn’t cards or domino’s as we’ve played in the past. This time it was Scrabble… but NOT the traditional Scrabble you’re thinking of. This Scrabble game was  happening online through everyone’s mobile device.

Here’s what the scene looked like…

Now, at first glance it might look like everyone is gathered around the table, ignoring each other and focusing on their iPhone or iPad. But the truth is, everyone was engaging each other verbally, as they matched Scrabble wits across the Internet, using their devices.

And it was a blast!

In fact, even after heading off to bed, folks were still engaged in the game as they laid in bed with the lights off, and fought to stay awake. No kidding!

So here’s what I learned.

As much as it often times bothers me that mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone almost make us “too connected” and can become almost habit-forming, I also realize that used in creative ways, the devices can bring people together, offering unique ways to interact that can actually bridge the generation gaps and create new family bonds.

Oh, and if you are wondering what online game everyone was playing, it wasn’t the actual Scrabble game, but a variation called Words with Friends which you can learn more about at The online game is available to play on your Internet connected computer, iPad, iPod, iPhone, or Android device, and can even be played as an App on Facebook.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments area below.


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