As parents, we place so much emphasis on the growth of our kids. Personally, I spend so much on parental guidance books constantly or even expensive educational toys and resources for my kids just to ensure that they will grow up to be successful adults. Others even work extra jobs just to provide rare (and rather expensive) opportunities like piano and fencing lessons to their children that even we as the parents, never even had the opportunity to think about it whilst growing up. Our instincts to want give give our child the best as parents is unparalleled. After all, our kids are not simply just the future but rather… the center of our universe as parents.
So you’re probably wondering at this point: What could I possibly be missing?
Now, I’m not mocking you because if i did, I would be mocking myself too.
You probably missed it due to the fact that this aspect has been all around us and because we have become so acquainted with its presence, we fail to properly identify it as a prominent element in life that can heavily influence a person’s growth and equally able to result in a person’s falling if not handled carefully.
This unsuspecting yet incredibly powerful element my dear friends, is none other than the proud double-edged product of our era – The IT World.
Convenience? Or dependence
We all use technology in some forms, be it something as simple as a phone call to a distant friend or operating complex programs to help us keep up with this fast-paced world. Technology in itself doesn’t just improve our daily lives, it gives the world what it currently craves the most – convenience. This convenience is incredibly conflicting as while it does make life easier, it also makes us lazier or even worse, dependant on it.
Just to draw a simple picture to make my point:
Ever felt restless when you don’t have access to the internet or other form of networks?
I know I did. This symptom is one of the fairly new phenomenons of what we simply call it as a technology addiction but to the experts it’s called Internet Use Disorder (IUD) or Internet addiction disorder (IAD)1. And the worst part? I wasn’t even fully aware that experts are considering it a very serious problem that will only continue to grow.
We can’t stop the march of technology. So what should we do then…?
Obviously we cannot stop advancement, so what are the options we are left with? As parents, instinctively we discipline bad or excessive behaviors when our kids portray them. We try to guide them as much as we can with our experiences in life but the problem is we only know so much, and this technological invasion is proof of that.
I remember when i introduced my 6 year old son to the tablet, he was instantly glued to it. Not very different from us, he was fascinated by the possibilities it gave – a whole new world. He eventually became very attached to it till the point of being very rebellious. I nagged and scolded him a few times but nothing worked. One day I had just about enough and gave him a few light spankings and banned it from him until he learns to behave. Oh boy did I regret my actions… He became even more rebellious afterwards.
This regret lead me to do some research and I realized that methods of disciplining are very important especially when involving something as addictive as technology.
According to Valya Telep – a child development specialist from Virginia State University, punishments never work, regardless verbal or physical2. In fact, it only drives kids to be more resentful and eventually deceiving us as parents in order to avoid punishment. According to the expert, we should note the following:
- Avoid any forms of punishments as it teaches the child that violence is acceptable.
- Never be extreme (as seen from my example). Be kind but also firm to portray seriousness.
- Educating the concept consequences.
- Through understanding consequence, the child molds responsibility.
- Always be patient. Educating consequences and responsibility takes time however the results are definitely worth it as kids learn to develop proper judgement on their own.
And upon doing more digging, I compiled some info that I would like to share with all parents.
Family Tech Time-Outs3
Get out there and have some fun! Allocate time and organise activities that do not involve any form of technology. Your options are limitless from board games, sports or even travelling! Ensure that you show your child that being involved in the real world can be as fun too!
A Good Example as Parent4
Kids are professional mimics, we all know that as parents. We ourselves have to be a good role model by reducing our reliance on the internet. Or at the very least, not portray such an image to them. If you’re on a screen almost all the time, how would your kids feel about your hypocrisy? Think about it.
Balance is key5
Technology is not all bad, it has many benefits too. Don’t ban technology for your kids. Instead, allow them to spend about 1 – 2 hours a day with it. They need to get in tune with the tech age too. However like all things, be moderate about it.
Educate Internet Responsibility6
The internet is a vast place. And that vast place is also includes things like sexual predators and child inappropriate content. Educate your kids about the consequences so they can use the web wisely. I also highly advise installing programs that help with blocking adult websites.
To summarize, teaching discipline with technology is incredibly important and there are many ways around it. Or you can be an even smarter parent and use tech to further your advantage. Find out more as to how you can use technology improve your kids at www.beedtheworld.com
1 “Technology Addiction – Internet Addiction.” Addiction.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.↩
2 Telep, Valya. “Discipline for Young Children.” Virginia Tech. Virginia State University, 1 May 2009. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.↩
3 Crosby, Kristin. “Disciplining Kids with a Tech Time-Out.” LifeZette. Ingraham Media, 22 Dec. 2016. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.↩
4 “Tips for Parents in the Digital Age.” HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Oct. 2016. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.↩
5 Becker, Joshua. “9 Important Strategies for Raising Children in a World of Technology.”Becoming Minimalist. N.p., 11 Jan. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.↩
6 Pickerill, Martha. “Raising the Screen Generation.” Time for Parents. Time, 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.↩