How To Raise Children In Today’s Tech-Focused World
I’m a mother; I have two boys, one is 9 years old, and the other is 11 years old – and I have to be honest, being a mother brings joy to me like nothing else, but in today’s tech-focused world, I do find myself questioning if I could be doing more to help introduce technology into my children’s lives positively, instead of negatively.
It’s no secret and should certainly come as no surprise that technology has officially invaded and disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives. Mobile phones are a staple of every teenager, most of them with smartphone capabilities, tablets are a regular in nearly every household, and internet-connected TVs and gaming systems have become the new normal, with platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitch completely encompassing the existence of our children.
In fact, my 11 year old son mentioned to me the other day that his best friend wants to grow up to become a YouTube star! This is vastly different from the career aspirations I remember having as a child. But nevertheless, why should anyone blame his friend? YouTube has become an immensely popular platform amongst today’s younger generations, even though it’s around for quite some time. Influencers all throughout the platform make livable wages (if not more) by simply producing content and promoting the content of others.
Who would have thought that this is how technology would impact our children?
The Struggle As A Parent
As a parent in today’s world, I’ll be the first person to admit that I often find myself struggling with raising my children in today’s tech-focused world. It can be difficult to get them to put down their phones – even if just to have them acknowledge something I say to them. It can be difficult to shift their attention away from social media, and it also opens up a digital world where accountability is low and internet trolls run rampant! I’m just not so sure that I want to introduce my children to that world just yet, even though I do recognize all of the tremendous benefits that digital technology has to offer.
I often find myself suggesting that they take a break from the TV, internet, phones, and video games to go and enjoy the fresh air outside. Luckily for me, my children are quite active and love to play basketball, ride their bikes, and run in the park. But for many other parents just like me, their children struggle with these activities.
For me, I learned rather quickly that if I don’t engage with my children in healthy, positive, and physical ways, they will instantly lose themselves in everything that digital technology has to offer. Whenever I have free time, I always try to get my children up and outside – whether that be for a family bike ride, a hike in a local park, or even a walk into town – anything that I can do to get them to push technology to the wayside even for a few minutes is a win for me.
And I do believe that we’re making tremendous strides! It’s important to reinforce the idea that “everything in moderation” is a good rule to live by, especially in a world that seems to be increasingly reliant on technology without much moderation.
But as parents, it’s our jobs to make sure that our children value the right things. And this is where it all starts!