How Technology Gets in the Way of Parenting
If you are like most parents, you worry about what technology is doing to your kids. Are they on their phones too much? Are they sharing too much on social media? Do they know how to have a face-to-face conversation? In fact, research indicates just how addicted to technology kids truly are and how it is impacting them.
For instance, this generation's technology use is increasing bullying, decreasing their ability to empathize, and robbing them of creativity. In fact, colleges and corporations are reporting that young people who have grown up in this tech-savvy world are lacking in emotional skills compared to kids a decade ago.
So, what is a parent to do? Many times, as parents we develop cell phone contracts, limit screen time, set timers, and take away technology as a form of discipline. But, what if the issue with technology, social media, and the Internet in our kids' lives has more to do with how much we parents allow our own technology use to interfere with our parenting? What if checking email and social media is robbing our kids of crucial interactions with us?
They want to have a conversation or ask us a tough question, but we are busy checking our phones, running through emails from work, or scrolling through social media. So, they see the device in our hands and either give up or go search the Internet for the answer instead. When this happens, we are missing out on crucial parenting opportunities.
Meanwhile, other participants in the study defended their technology-use, indicating that it allowed them to plug into the outside world and served as a vital reminder that there is life beyond parenting. Many parents also reported using technology as a way to alleviate the boredom and the mundaneness that can come with parenting. All in all, it is estimated that parents use mobile devices like smartphones, wearables, and tablets upwards of three hours a day or more.
While the researchers acknowledge that parents do not have to be available to their children 100% of the time and that a little time on their own creates independence in kids, they also noted that parents are overloaded and exhausted from being pulled in so many different directions. What's more, technology has transformed the way parents interact with their kids. Unlike traditional books, newspapers, or magazines, technology commands more of a parent's attention and requires a greater emotional investment. This significant emotional investment means there is less of you available to invest in your kids.