Are Parents Being Good Role Models for Children When It Comes to Technology?
Everyone likes technology, right? It’s amazing what you can do and find out about the use of technology. However, technology itself is addictive and parents are not an exception. Today, most parents pay more attention to their computer or phone screen than they do to their children. Even busy parents stay on social media too much. They constantly check their email. They watch television shows or news programs on their smartphones—all without realizing that this behavior does harm their children’s development and well-being to some degree.
According to research done on child psychology, some of the problems that children experience today can be contributed to their parents. Thanks to technology, children today feel that they have to compete for their parent’s attention. This is because most of the time parents are glued to their screens. Some even respond harshly to their children when the child tries to get their attention. Many child psychologists believe there’s a serious need to find a balance between technology and taking care of your family.
Studies show that a modern parent spends too much of their time online or involved in texting and social media. After working all day and taking care of the home, parents often leave very little time that they can commit solely to their children. Family outings where all family members are given a chance to really bond are very scarce these days. The inability for parents to control the amount of time they spend on their phones or laptops has also extended to their children. This is mainly because children look up to their parents. They mimic what they see parents doing. Many kids have become antisocial and some have even become introverts. The ability to develop real-world relationships is missing in many people today.
Effects of parental technology use on children
- Children may constantly seek attention. Child rearing is not easy. Children are dependent beings that require more attention than most adults. Parents constantly being online or on their phones make children feel deprived of the attention they deserve. They may not know how to tell you, but they miss play time, storytelling time, kitchen activities, and so forth. This is not good for the emotional and mental development of the child. It may lead the child to be withdrawn or even lower their self-esteem. In these cases, the child may act out.
- A study also shows that children whose parents are constantly messing with their phone or on social media feel less supported by their parents. This is mainly attributed to the lack of communication between the parents and the children. Parents don’t get to know what’s going on in their children’s lives or even how they are progressing in school. Communication is extremely important to a child’s development. Lack of communication can easily divide the family.
- Need for privacy. The modern-day parent on social media loves to post pictures of themselves and their children. They never seem to care how that affects the kids though. What you post and the comments you make on social media can shape how your children perceive you. Many children say they don’t like some of the photos their parents share online. Kids have a right to privacy too.
Ways to find a healthy balance between technology and parenting
Establish good technological habits. This means simply setting time limits for surfing the web and sticking to them. This is most effective if the kids are still young. Don’t just set the time limit, but make every effort to stick to it. Spend that extra time each day with your family and give them the attention they need.
Be a role model. One can achieve this in various ways. Avoid fooling around with technological gadgets during dinner. Give your family your full attention at social outings. Listen to them when they speak to you. This will help the children learn that they, too, need to find a balance between technology and their social life.
Turn off work. Some parents constantly feel the need to access work email and work projects. They wind up spending too much time checking their mail or in group chats. By turning off work when you get home, you can fully concentrate on your family. You can give your spouse and children the attention they need.
All the studies and findings clearly show that parents need to find a balance between technology and parenting. It not only helps the parent to spend more quality time with their family, but they can monitor their children’s growth. They can spot behavioral problems. It’s important to know what your children are up to and how they are progressing in life. It helps you to be a better-rounded individual and it helps your kids to grow up into responsible adults.