Technology opens so many doors, but can be a constant battle at home. We want our kids to have access to information, and it’s become their digital playground, but it’s hard to argue it isn’t taking up too much of their (and our) time these days. Thanks to my sister, Leslie, Mom Since 2012 (MS’12) for sharing a link to a related article from Deep Roots at Home, Silent Tragedy, that details the dangers to focus and brain development and more from too much technology. The article offers a thoughtful look at what is going wrong, how technology is rewiring our brains, and what we can do about it. Check it out.
Thanks to Author Naomi Schaefer Riley for sharing this excerpt from her recently published book, Be the Parent, Please: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat.
Guest post from Naomi Schaefer Riley
It is not an exaggeration to say that giving your kids a cellphone is giving them the keys to the kingdom. There is a whole world out there that they can now access without your knowledge. That world, which will be constantly beeping at your child, will forever change him or her. It may change how your child views friendships, how he or she interacts with the outdoors, how he or she experiences time alone.
When we hand over phones and tablets to children, we are likely to be changing not only the information they can access but also their habits, their personalities, and their tastes. And while they may see their online life as a privilege — if not a right — we should also be honest enough to understand it as a burden. For the sake of our own convenience and their entertainment, we are giving up their freedom and perhaps even some of their happiness.
Tips for Cutting Back
Buy your child a watch and teach him or her how to use it. You may think that you need your kid to have a phone in order to arrange pickups and drop-offs, but you don’t. Agree to meet at a time. You are not Uber. If something goes wrong, teach your child how to ask the adult present to contact you.
Play the memory game. If you’re tempted to give kids technology because you can’t figure out how else they would entertain themselves or communicate with you or their friends, ask yourself how you did it as a kid. The answer won’t always be the right one, but it will give you perspective.
Naomi Schaefer Riley is the author of Be the Parent, Please: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat (Templeton Press, 2018). She is a weekly columnist for the New York Post and a former Wall Street Journal editor and writer whose work focuses on higher education, religion, philanthropy and culture. Her book, ’Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America (Oxford, 2013), was named an editor’s pick by the New York Times Book Review. For more information, please visit http://www.naomiriley.com/ and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.