Kids And Technology
So how does technology fit into your family life? Do you set a good example? Do you set limits? Forbid it or welcome it?
There are no right or wrong answers. There are many benefits and negatives . The last twenty or so years has seen technology take over so many aspects of our lives. Research does not give us definitive answers and even experts disagree about how it affects kids and family relationships as a whole. Mental and physical health is also likely affected but we just can't seem to figure out how much.
This is an unknown voyage for us all to navigate but parents have to consider long term effects for their children. Questions such as how early should technology be introduced into a child's life or should a teenager be allowed to spend hour upon hour tucked away in their room playing online games and communicating with people you don't know?
Technology of course is not all bad. It's a case of where, when and how much. Our children absolutely need to be confident and knowledgeable about it. Their entire adult lives will be spent using it at work and at home. But it is essential that they also have "real" relationships and have the ability to communicate face to face with family and friends. There is also a danger that the online world overtakes reality.
Most parents would agree that kids need rules and boundaries. There can be no harm in limiting the use of phones, laptops TV's etc. How parents achieve this will depend on the age of the child. Maybe a device free space within the home could work such as the dining room or their bedrooms. Some online time might be shared by the child viewing with the parent...a game they play for example. Play with them.
The strongest message can be given by leading by example. Perhaps you are reading some fun stuff from a friend on Facebook or reading an email from work. If your child speaks to you, the message you give should be the child is more important than the screen. Stop looking at the device and look at the child. Not always easy, but it is important.
It is also important to remember that kids issues today are really not much different from when the parents were kids. They are just presented differently because they are online. It can however be more difficult to manage because of a lack of understanding by the parent of how an issue can be solved or avoided.. None of us are experts but staying up to date with Apps and platforms that kids use these days should help!
Because we have so little firm guidance on this issue, it comes down to good old fashioned common sense by the parents themselves. There are many things to consider when deciding what to do to ensure your child is safe from Cyber bullying and online predators and that they grow up to be balanced, grounded adults who are comfortable with the use of technology. Just consider your own child and their needs and don't feel pressured by what other parents consider right for their child. Every family has a different dynamic and of course different considerations.