Technology has changed our world. It may be for the better; it may be for the worse. It is more likely a combination of both. My concern is that technology has also changed the parent/child relationship.
Even a minor change in how parents and children interact will have major, long-reaching consequences.
CHILDREN NEED US TO BE AVAILABLE
Infants need to learn language very quickly and to do this they need many tiny interactions every day. A coo needs a response from a family member. A cry needs some form of attention. Pointing to an object requires a meeting of the minds. Babies need to have interaction many times a day in order to practice and form theories about communication.
DON’T LET A PHONE GET IN THE WAY OF THESE TINY INTERACTIONS
Older children are learning about emotions, how to understand them and how to use them. They need many interactions with parents, siblings, and peers each day so they can learn this skill little bit by little bit. Children who spend too much time in front of a screen will not develop empathy and will struggle with the kind of thinking skills they need for learning. They may also struggle with peer relationships and with anxiety.
DON’T LET A SCREEN KEEP YOUR CHILD FROM DEVELOPING STRONG SKILLS
Even adolescents need interaction with parents and peers. They are learning about themselves in a new way and learning about important values that will guide their lives and decision processes. Adolescents who spend time with a screen instead of time with family and peers are at much higher risk of depression, suicide, and thoughts of suicide.
DON’T LET A SCREEN PUT YOUR CHILD IN DANGER
- Set personal rules about "phone-in-pocket" when your children are present.
- Set family rules that limit screen time and promote family talking times (car, dinner table, times of waiting, etc.)
- And have those important conversations with your teens about putting face to face relationships before screen time.
WHEN IN DOUBT; PUT THE SCREEN DOWN
There is always time to learn about technology. NOW is the time to be a family!