The ‘Connected Parent’ in the Age of ScreensDiana
I remember when mama gave me her old phone, she had just upgraded her phone hence handing me down her Sony Ericson phone the size of an arm. That phone was big and as if that was not enough, it had an aerial. You couldn’t carry it without everyone knowing you were carrying it. I was respected among my peers for owning a phone though technically, I did not own it. I remember spending hours upon hours on that phone. It did not have advanced features as the phones we currently use, it did not have internet, the camera was the lowest resolution and there were only two games on it. I was always texting with my friends because calling was a for the rich.
If with all the limitations I had I still spent hours on that phone, imagine how much more time todays’ kids are spending on phone, this is bearing in mind all the options that they have access to through phones. With everything that parents have to worry about, they have to also worry about the cyber and media world which could be harmful to their kids. Recent studies show that kids between the age of eight and eighteen spend an average of 44.5 hours on phone and that in just one week. Social media has become some type of peer influence of sorts. There are emerging trends every day that all the ‘cool’ kids are doing.
We don’t get a manual on how to be a parent when a child is born; you just do some version of what you’ve learned from those who raised you, and you might adjust in one direction or another. There is a silver lining though; a connected parent has to learn new things all the time to keep track of technological developments and understand how their children are using technology, with its risks and possible benefits. Both the interconnectedness and the embeddedness of digital technology shape the lives of young people in profound ways. This will benefit both the parents and the children.
Parents should become more intentional with their children. The most plausible option is to instill good character and morals in their children by giving them the right teachings as well as giving them a Christian foundation. The media content out here has overly been sexualized, violent, profane and often promotes drugs and alcohol. Most music videos have a lot of sexual content, drugs and alcohol and music appeals the most to the young. With the technology changing every day, parents can only do so much to protect their children.
Most people come home from work, tired and wanting a minute to themselves, so phones and other devices fill the void for their children. This may create disconnect between the parents and children. However, there are measures that they can take to ensure that the disconnect does not happen.
- Establish rules while at home and follow them. This can include a no phone or other device rule while in the house between specific times like when doing homework or during dinner.
- Creating family games that involves the whole family. The games will help in the family bonding a well as spending time together.
- Leading with a good example. This requires the parents to be very disciplined. They cannot be on phone 24/7 and expect their kids not to do the same.
While technology is very good for us, it has its downside just like any other addiction. A lot of children are using social media to fill voids that their parents have left open and this is often the beginning of problems. Deciding what you want your family to look like and making steps towards achieving that is the healthiest thing a parent can do for their children. Be involved with your children, create a relationship with them, find time to talk to them as well as create activities that the both of you enjoy doing together.