Post contributed by guest blogger Lexie Maitland.
My parents always tell me “Well, when I was a kid, we didn’t have gadgets to entertain us.” It’s a phrase I tend to hear way too often. Although today’s generation is glued to their electronic devices, the older generation is as well. I know it is a necessity for my parents to have their electronic devices when it comes to work, but in my opinion, parents are just as guilty for being glued to their electronic devices.
The other day, as I was sitting in Starbucks, working on my computer, I noticed a mom and a son sitting at one of the tables outside. The son was probably about 6 years old and he was without an electronic device. On this particular day, I kept glancing up at the little boy and his mom. I will admit, I can be a little nosy sometimes, but I think it’s something we are all a little guilty of at times. I noticed the mom held a phone in her right hand and her drink in the other. The little boy just sat there eating his food while his mother messed around on her phone the whole time. I kept glancing back up thinking that the mother would eventually make conversation with her son, but no, she stayed glued to her phone for the whole 20 minutes they were there. Then I got to thinking, do technology habits among parents affect children’s use of technology more than we think it does? How do kids learn balance?
Monkey see, monkey do
Since, smart phones and social media weren’t as all-encompassing when I was really young, I can’t say that my parents influenced my technology habits from a young age. However, I do think that the generation of younger kids today are definitely affected by their parents’ technology use since almost everyone has a mobile phone, smart phone, or tablet. When younger kids see their parents glued to their cell phones, they’re automatically going to wonder what it is they’re doing. They’re going to wonder “what could possibly be more important that me?” When kids get this sense of curiosity, they aren’t going to let it go. They are going to want to try out what their parents are playing on. This is what drives a child to crave getting online as early as possible. They want to do what adults do.
I truly think that if parents begin to limit the amount of time they spend on their electronic devices, while around their children, children in turn wouldn’t think it’s normal or expected to always have an eye on and thumbs poised over the smart phone.
A little balance would go a long way…
I’m not saying that I think parents need to get rid of their electronics completely. All I’m saying is that I think a little balance between quality time with children and electronics is much needed. Not only would this set a good example or priority and balance for that young generation, but it would also give parents more quality time with their precious kiddos!