Imagine how much extra time we’d have for the things we say we don’t have time for, if we weren’t so consumed by technology?
Would you think it weird, odd or outright scary if someone was following your every move? You turned right, they turned right, you went into a store, they were right behind you. I think it’s safe to say you’d start to feel a bit uneasy. What if your spouse followed your every move, checked your credit card statements, listened to your phone calls? You might be looking for a restraining order.
Most of us would NOT consider this healthy or normal behaviour and yet we somehow justify our right to follow our child’s every move, not only because we can but because we’ve been told that this is what a “good” parent does.
Who doesn’t find themselves tracking ‘find my phone’ to make sure our kid is where they said they are, or checking their texts to monitor their conversations, timing their screen time & generally being in their business? It’s not terribly surprising that our kids find us annoying & frankly outright scary!
But don’t kid yourself, our kids will always outsmart us in this department. They’re 10 steps ahead & have figured out ways around our little tracking devices so lets talk about ways to use technology to our advantage.
If we use it wisely, technology is an amazing advantage that we have in parenting, over our parents. It’s a great way to build connection with our child, particularly teens, when they’re shy for words! It gives us a general feeling of safety if we know we can reach them & it can give us the opportunity to be relevant in our child’s life, if we learn about the things they’re interested in.
It’s easy to complain about our kids technology but remember who’s name the contract is in. A child can’t go out and buy a working phone, they need a plan & it’s usually your name on it. We have to own our part in how WE use OUR technology. Just like setting the example of not drinking and driving, it’s our responsibility to set the example of how to use technology responsibly. They’re learning behaviours from us, even though we may be learning how to use the technology from them!
Hold off giving your child technology as long as you possibly can, but when they start talking about it, make sure they’re ready to use it without constant supervision. It’s never too early to start preparing them for how to stay connected & use technology responsibly.
If we want our child to come to us & trust us, we have to start by trusting them. Kids will usually make good choices if we let them. Our kids are educated, savvy, & they will make mistakes, just like we did, but technology is a part of our lives & it’s not going anywhere, so we all need to learn how to use it to make all of our lives easier, not create battles over it.
In the mean time, if you’re looking for a few extra hours in your day, turn off the WIFI, leave cyberspace & come back to the world in real time, all around you! You’re kids are watching.
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching