Parenting & Technology
Technology and screen time are essential topics for parents to educate themselves on and discuss as children navigate the digital age.
Worrying comes with the territory when it comes to parenting. Your grandparents worried about the types of music your parents listened to on the radio. Your parents worried about what you were watching on the television. Now, you’re worrying about what your child is seeing on their phone, tablet, or laptop.
Technology and screen time are essential topics for parents to educate themselves on and discuss. If you are in a joint custody relationship, it is important for you and your co-parent to set child technology guidelines.
Like it or not, technology is here to stay, and right now we’re still learning about both the positive and negative side effects.
Screen time isn’t all bad for kids
Healthline, for example, reported about researchers creating a video game that successfully resulted in teaching kids empathy and improving their social behavior.
“The problem isn’t the medium, the problem is the message,” stated one of the researchers in the article. “If we could get game manufacturers to take this seriously and to design games that cultivate the heart rather than killing people, think about how beneficial that could be for the social and emotional development of kids.”
Technology is largely seen as a win for the education sector as well. According to the Pew Internet Project, the internet and search engines are making students more self-sufficient researchers than ever before. Technology also enables children with learning disabilities to overcome obstacles in the classroom that once isolated them from their peers.
Some of the other pros of technology use among children include opportunity for socialization, creativity, and problem solving.
But the news isn’t all rosy
The amount of time children spend in front of screens is alarming for many. According to Pew Research Center, 71% of parents with a child under 12 years old say they are at least somewhat concerned their child might spend too much time in front of screens, including 31% who say they are very concerned.
Some of the commonly cited negative impacts include lower attention span, risk of depression, obesity, bullying, and failing grades. Excessive technology use can also result in hand pain, numbness, tingling, and neck or back pain. A report in The Spine Journal says surgeons are seeing an increase in patients with neck and back problems, which is likely related to poor posture while using a mobile phone, nicknamed tech neck.
An article in The Atlantic shows yet another issue screen time is having on parents and children: increasingly low-quality engagement levels. Parents and kids alike are spending more time on the internet, leading to a lack of physical and emotional connection.
It is important to understand the pros and cons of technology to use it in a positive way
Knowing the positive and negative impacts of technology use is helpful when implementing guidelines for your family. There is a time and place for technology, but general rules will help you and your children use it in a healthy way.