Our kids today are consumed by the digital world. Wether they are on their iPads, Face-Timing cousins or playing apps on their phone it is virtually unavoidable. It is the new way to ground our kids, “I’ll change the wi-fi password!” And we are all concerned with what technology is doing to our children’s brains, not to mention their physicality.
Generation M (Mobile) Needs a Reboot
OK, we are deep into this whole kids-tech boom and we have a good grasp on the pros and cons of how it affects our most immediate needs. Quiet your kids with technology so we can get some “much needed” peace. Adults unwillingly know that this affects quality time with their children and warps our kids minds into hours long videos of StampyLongHead.
Also, the tech/social footprint is beginning early on with email addresses, passwords and social accounts. Our children’s Privacy is as mission critical now more so than it has ever been before. One study showed that 81% of kids will have an online presence by the time they are two. Imagine major tobacco having access to big data that includes 8 year old behaviors. Or adult web sites being able to market unfiltered at them.
These kids are the smartest generation ever. Growing up tech is the most advanced society we could have imagined. But what we do with it is what is concerning. Parents may want to do an audit of their children and their own online activity to make certain our kids are consuming what each parent feels to be appropriate.
With averages up to as much as 3 to 4 hours a day of tech consumption, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, we have a recipe for sleep-deprivation in kids. So it goes without saying that tech is interfering with our kids sleep.
Merry Tech-Mas 2014
It’s here again. Right around the corner. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and eventually Christmas. Parents are more likely to buy their children tech gifts than board games or outdoor craft activities. E-Commerce has taken away the from Sunday family time looking at the circulars. And even the thought of passing time in a store shopping line with conversation has become a finger pressing, head dropped and eyes glued on mobile device zombie land.
Have you ever closed an app on your smartphone just to re-open it a few seconds later? We are unconsciously subdued and secured in this mind melting blanket of technology. Our kids see it. God forbid you go for a 5 minute trip without an iPad in tow.
Just this month, a report from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers called for government guidelines on the amount of time children should spend on net-connected devices.
Don’t Forget: Kids + Tech = GREAT
Research shows new tools can make kids more engaged and more creative. And on the education/employment front, this better prepares U.S. students for careers in fast-growing fields like science and engineering. Here is a fantastic interview with Scott Steinberg, author of The Modern Parents Guide, that gives some great tips on how we can leverage the tech and keep families together.
Q&A for the Parents
Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves regarding technology and our children:
- How has technology changed parenting?
- How can parents best protect their children from online threats while respecting their privacy?
- What rules do you have in your house regarding technology use?
- What is a reasonable amount of time for children to spend interacting with a screen each day?
After you research the facts of what may be happening (positive and negative) it may be wise to talk with your kids about how technology can be a great thing. Kids are smart and using the “you are so fortunate or spoiled” or “when I was your age” may not be the most tactful. Consider a reward system for tech time, a specific day of creative tech time only or other ideas to get your children out of a possible mind suck of wasteful time.