Parenting in technology era

Living in the digital era gives us all reasons to worry about the next generation - the so-called ”first generation of digital kids”. But why do we worry so much? Because children refuse human contact and socializing? Because they stay so much with their eyes attached to all the screens they can reach? Well, pardon me for saying this, but it is not their fault.

Most children behave as their parents or acquaintances do. And we have to admit that we also are devoured by smartphones and tablets. So, allowing them to acquire the same habits is inevitable. No insult here, but monkey see monkey do. Unfortunately, for them is much worse as they get addicted faster and in many cases irremediable. Is far from me the intention to be a worrywart and drastic, I’m just a humble observer of the small world we live in.

Where is our children’s childhood heading to?

Jenny Anderson, mother of two and reporter for Quartz obsessed with the art of parenting, best elaborated in this article how technology does not ruin our children’s lives, but parents and their technology do. It is tough but outspoken:

That means exercising some self-control. Many of us aren’t exactly paragons of virtue in this arena. Maybe that’s because we adopted technology later in life and have been furiously adding functionalities — email! a camera! 100 apps! — rather than restraining them. We don’t have the muscles, or at least the habits, of constraint.

Yet we expect, or at least hope, that our kids will somehow magically gravitate toward self-control. (Oh wait, we need to parent them?)
Source: mountaintv.net

Source: mountaintv.net

Another tough and realistic point of view comes from Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, an addiction expert and one if the world's top rehabs. He notes that technology addiction is similar to ”digital heroin”. This comparison is not arbitrary and not at all exaggerated as children’s brain on Minecraft, for example, looks like a brain on drugs.  

Developmental psychologists understand that children’s healthy development involves social interaction, creative imaginative play and an engagement with the real, natural world. Unfortunately, the immersive and addictive world of screens dampens and stunts those developmental processes.
— Dr. Nicholas Kardaras

So, what’s missing? Well, social interaction and creative imaginative play or engagement with the natural world are among the most common habits that seem to disappear or at least to drop off from children’s schedule. Plus, the lack of parents involvement also seems to be a cause for these unhealthy habits children get.

What can we do?

As parents, we can encourage children to play and interact with their friends and engage them in as many outdoor activities as possible.

As educators or teachers, we should point the use of technology at its best. There’s no need to deny the usefulness of technology in education but rather we should benefit from it. For example, there are multiple apps or programs for learning foreign languages. Those shouldn’t substitute teachers but complement them.

The technology era has brought new concerns in parents’ lives from online safety, cyberbullying, untrustful sources to the imminent screen addiction. Actually, there are ways to avoid all these or at least to avert them.

To sum it up, the solution to this new generation problem may resume to better and communication between parents and children, supervision (but not constantly), safety check and staying informed. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but not as difficult as many parents complain.

While creating Woogie, in order to understand parents' concerns, we studied and analyzed the problems above. In our field of expertise, we explore the voice interaction which seems to be a proper way to interact with technology (and an alternative to screens) as it encourages children to talk and to express themselves better. Plus, voice interactions will definitely invade the tech trends in the following years and we think that exploring this alongside education is the greatest mission we could take in making the life of digital families easier and more pleasant. 

 

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