SHOULD WE BE UNPLUGGING OUR KIDS?
Raising children requires a holistic approach. As parents, we focus on our children’s intellectual, physical, social, emotional, spiritual and aesthetic well-being. There’s no denying technology has dramatically changed our world in the past few decades. But what effect has this change had on the way we are raising our kids? Should we be unplugging them from technology?
As promised in last week’s post TRYING TO RAISE GRATEFUL KIDS I am going to discuss this question.
There are numerous sides to the debate. It is instrumental that our children are competent and capable of technology. They have no choice but to embrace it. Their ability in this area will determine their future success in a dynamic competitive global economy.
Children are displaying higher levels of creativity and innovativeness, vastly different from their parents, purely based on their exposure to more complex, vibrant resources i.e. technology. They also have higher developed skills including problem-solving, logic, higher hand-eye coordination, and multitasking abilities.
However, the rise of automation and the large percentage of jobs likely to be computerised in our children’s lifetime there will be a need for our kids to also have highly developed social skills to compete for future jobs. They will need to have a higher level of social perceptiveness to be able to negotiate, make accurate assessments, conduct persuasive arguments and effectively coordinate people. They will also need to be flexible and adapt easily.
Studies show that kids who routinely use technology have a high multitasking skill set, yet they have become unable to focus due to them receiving a constant burst of new information. This inability to focus in the classroom or during homework is leading to them being stressed, unable to complete complex tasks and give in-depth thought when needed.
Over exposure to technology has been linked to the rise in childhood obesity. Delays in childhood development and disrupted sleep patterns. Overuse has been implicated as a causal factor in the rising rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis and problematic child behaviour. There are several more issues such as radiation and addictions, unfortunately, it would take too long to cover everything and it’s scary to contemplate.
Technology does accelerate and improve basic skills. Due to it being more stimulating and interactive. There is a vital role for it in our children’s lives at home and in the classroom. The use of technology for children with disabilities has been advantageous and should never be discounted.
So how do we add technology into our holistic parenting approach?
My view is technology should be an option in my kids’ lives, just not the only option. We recently reached a stage where we had to cut technology off. It was not working for us. The kids are technology free from Sunday afternoon until Friday afternoon. This decision was necessary for us and the results have been nothing short of miraculous. This is working for us, but there’s no correct answer.
We are chartering unknown territory as parents of kids who don’t know what life is like without an iPad! It brings a new level of online danger and at the same time the safety of being able to contact them when they’re not with you.
I feel being too extreme on either side of the argument is not the answer. Finding the right balance that works in your house is.
We are an evolving society and what seems socially unacceptable now, in a few years will be common place. Continually assessing the situation looks like the best way forward.
For now, we are spending more time outside, cooking together, doing homework with no arguments, having conversations whilst making eye contact and making fabulous memories. It feels amazing and I highly recommend it for anyone seeking more balance!
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SHOULD WE BE UNPLUGGING OUR KIDS?