Increased Media Attention Leaves Cyber parents Helpless
Hooray! After over a decade of relative chaos and over-emphasis on safety, we are finally seeing how, as usual, while created to serve us, tools have profound effects on us. It is about time: In recent days, a flurry of articles have peppered media about the effects on humans of technology. These stories comprise of two categories: Cognitive neuroscience and social-familial. There are alarmists, and there are technophiles. Slow-to-come new research is reported, and experts are interviewed to give context.
So far so good. But this is not enough. Other than piquing curiosity, the mostly alarmist reportage is piecemeal and offers scant practical advise. “In fact, parents tell me that they are left frustrated and without a comprehensive approach and practical tools. ‘What are we supposed to do?’ They are very concerned, while many try to restrict access and time, others claim ignorance and shrug their shoulders helplessly. None of this works very well and can cause unnecessary conflict,” according to Dr. S, a veteran Chicago child-psychiatrist who uses media as play therapy in his practice.
“Let’s get positive! Technology is here to stay and can be great. We know lots about what is good for kids and families. Now let’s apply solid principles of good parenting to home technology consumption. Parents need a comprehensive, hands-on set of tools that will integrate technology into good parenting practices. Whatever new device comes, and surely they will keep coming, parents should be able to decide about its use in their homes and in children’s hands as they make choices about education, recreation, and nutrition,” states Dr. S and elaborates on www.mydigitalfamily.org. Dr. S’ just-released KIDS, PARENTS & TECHNOLOGY: A GUIDE FOR YOUNG FAMILIES is available in paperback and all electronic forms.
“This is a crucial part of life now. There is no quick fix here. Parents need to commit themselves to learn about technology and use it as they do other home appliances. No technology gadget belongs near kids if it does not serve family life or their development. Period.”