Technology has given us way more than just a more connected world.
People Are Losing Themselves Every Day To The Internet
On March 26, 2021, a young 28-year old woman left home without her car, keys, wallet, ID, or cell phone. She was found dead, presumably having jumped in front of an Amtrak train after battling with years of depression.
She had 82,000 followers on Instagram and traveled the world as an influencer, a career millions of teens dream of.
This kind of thing happens every day.
We just don’t hear about it because it doesn’t always happen to people who are in the spotlight.
This is a problem.
Technology & Media Are All-Consuming
COVID-19 literally forced our kids to be dependent on their devices. From the moment they wake up in the morning and turn on the TV to enjoy some cartoons with their breakfast, to the minute they sign on to their Zoom meeting, and then when it’s time to take a break, they’re switching over to a game on their devices.
It’s terrifying how dependent our children have become.
We Don’t Know What To Do Without It
Without even realizing it, we as parents have become addicted to our devices. So much that when we lose or misplace them, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
I’ve heard it many times before. I don’t know what I’d do without my phone. And when we do, we feel out of touch—out of sorts. Like we’re missing everything that’s going on in the world.
It’s dangerous really, because we’re giving these inanimate objects complete control over how we function in our daily lives. And it’s only going to get worse.
This is a learned behavior that we’re passing onto our children.
The Power Struggle With Tech Needs To Stop
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. But it’s starting to interfere with the way some people parent. And I’ll be the first person to admit it.
I, too, used to hand my phone off to my daughter when she was throwing a temper tantrum because it was easier than actually addressing the reason behind the tantrum. Pure laziness, which is why the millennial generation is earning such a bad reputation.
We need to start being more attentive.
We need to stop letting technology influence our children.
We need to address these issues head on.
Our children are learning that instead of coping with their emotions, they can just tune in to something else and forget the problem altogether. But this is helpful for no one.
Children desperately need to be able to feel, and we need to give them a chance to do so. We’re not helping anybody by letting these moments get swept under the rug.
It’s absolutely the reason we hear more and more parents complain about their kid’s behavior and increase in gaming addictions. But we can’t blame them because we’ve never taught our child how to use tech responsibly because we’re still learning how to do it on our own.
We Have To Find A Balance
It starts with us. The parents. I don’t ever want my daughter to think that anything on a device is more important than her, as I’m sure most parents would agree.
We need to teach our children when it’s OK to use technology and when it’s time to step back, and more importantly, recognizing when and why they need to do so.
- Have a conversation with your family about technology and the role that it plays in their lives. This is a great time to explain the pros and cons, and to let everyone voice their opinion. There is no right or wrong, the point is to get everything out in the open before laying down the ground rules.
- Set specific times that children can be online. Before dinner is a great place to start because it gives you the quiet time you need to get everything on the table, and it usually doesn’t take more than an hour or so, which is plenty of time for kids to be watching TV or using the Internet. Use the time after dinner to do something together as a family that DOES NOT involve technology. Play a game, read a book, do a craft, take a walk… the possibilities are endless.
- Be consistent. I need to start taking my own advice on this one, but it’s pretty much the icing on top of the cake. Once you’ve put your plan in place you must stick to it. Kids need to know that what you say is going to happen is actually going to happen, or else they start to take advantage of it. And that my friend, is a much larger problem with a much longer road to recovery that you DO NOT want to embark on.
Kids will remember the effort whether they like it now or not. In the end, it will help them become a much more enjoyable human being to be around, and they’ll thank you someday.