Parenting and technology issues are common today, and I’ve experienced this with my kids and their love of video games. We lovingly put limits on how much our kids play video games. But one afternoon, I caught my son in his room on a tablet playing his favorite online game.
“What are you doing?” I asked. “I put a time on your game, and you know you’re not supposed to be playing.”
“I had to play for 10 more minutes to get this special badge,” my son responded. “So, I just signed in from your tablet.”
And there it was—I was mired in the middle of parenting and technology issues. My son’s ability to circumvent my rules made me realize that technology can erode my ability to control what my kids see and do.
While technology is here to stay and can be useful, there are 3 ways it undermines your parenting.
1. Social media exposes your kids to things you don’t want them to see.
Parenting is so much about guiding your kids down the right path so that when they’re older, they can make the best decisions possible. What they see on social media can get them fixated on the wrong things. This leads many kids to bad places, including increased online bullying and self-esteem issues. Kids can often turn toward these instead of their parents, leading them down the wrong path. Instead, make sure you talk about key issues appropriate for their age face-to-face and offer advice and your own experiences with those challenges.
2. It makes it easy for your kids to breach the boundaries you set.
There are great tools to put on your kids’ devices to ensure they’re not exposed to pornography or other harmful content. However, the speed by which content comes at your kids makes it hard to control. Because it is difficult to monitor, parents lose their ability to be the gatekeeper for their kids to see. Like the story of my son and his game on one of our tablets, they can use technology to circumvent our control. This means our kids are exposed to things we do not want for them, and access to digital media means you have little opportunity to keep them away from it. Therefore, you must always monitor and limit their use of all technology. Download apps and other tools that allow you to do so.The more the world molds your kids, the less influence you will have on who they are and what they become.
3. It separates them from their family.
I love playing Madden with my sons on a weekend afternoon. They love that the old man can still play video games and occasionally loses. Yet, your kids are missing out on what benefits they get from interaction face-to-face. Staring at screens all day also removes them from important responsibilities like chores, homework, and physical activity for their health. The more the world molds your kids, the less influence you will have on who they are and what they become. You must get them off their devices and get them to interact with their family, friends, and community so they stay well grounded. Have device-free days or nights when another family activity like board games or an outing is the focus, all without a distraction from devices.
Sound off: What parenting and technology issues have you had to face?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some benefits of technology and what are some downsides?”