The Fine Line Between Benefit and Destruction When it Comes to Our Youth and Technology…
This subject is touchy. It feels like parents either really care about it or they really don’t, with most the parental population leaning to the latter. There is no way to be middle ground on your view of a subject like this.
You can’t be lenient and strict at the same time. In a busy fast-paced world, it is hard for parents to give their full attention to monitoring the internet that is required in order to keep children safe, and morally uncorrupt.
A Wake-Up Call
Due to the extreme demand of monitoring it would take, this leaves some parents and even school districts a little too lax without even knowing it.
Because it only takes one second for your child to experience something that could leave them traumatized or at risk of being targeted by strangers.
Internet, screens, devices, all this technology covers such a broad area, hence the ability for it to invade our lives in a multitude of ways.
Letting little ones watch too many shows be it on tv, tablets or phones is an issue. Kids playing video games all day on an array of gaming systems, teens having their phones glued to their hands with access to a search bar, YouTube, apps, and social media accounts is consuming.
In this modern-day world of technology that we all live in, there seems to be no escaping it. Opening the door to the internet opens the entire door.
A very wide door that has lots of room for anything to pass through. Pedophiles, catfishing, sex trafficking, murderers, identity theft, porn, bullying, traumatizing images and subjects, the list literally goes on and on. No matter the filters, or childproofing you do things still get through.
Youth and Technology: The Start Of A Bad Habit
It can start as handing your toddler your phone to keep them occupied. Or getting them their own tablet before they even start school. Since we have never lived in this era before we don’t know exactly how the outcome is going to be permanently into the future.
Studies so far have shown the implications of behavior it brings forth in children that are frequently occupied with by handheld technological devices.
This includes behavioral issues, learning issues, addiction issues, lack of social skills, anxiety from always being “plugged in” and not enough reflection time.
Depression is also an issue because of constant connection to others that bully, or comparing yourself to others by their social media accounts. Not to mention all the things they can encounter that their brain is not developmentally ready to handle.
It is easy. When you have a screaming toddler in a public place, distraction with a bright, fast-paced moving screen holds their attention. But at what cost?
It will always turn into more times, for longer periods of time. This is just the beginning of an arising crutch, a dependency that just grows stronger the older the child gets.
Pay Attention To Your Chid’s Personality
Another problem we face with youth and technology is that we don’t yet know the characteristics of our children that are partaking in early internet use.
I have seen some children simply not interested in spending the majority of their time being entertained by a screen, regardless of the availability.
Some kids are more active, hands-on, extroverts that prefer first-hand experiences in life. They can easily lay down the game and go outside and be just as happy.
On the other hand, there are the children that take the screen time and run with it. I have had the displeasure of experiencing this first-hand with my son.
He would go from, tablet, to Xbox, to phone, to tv, to YouTube, and back again and never stop if I let him. I know this because I experimented with a no rules day while I was closely monitoring and watched this pattern unfold.
I have to be cautious of letting him go to friend’s homes knowing they don’t have a strict screen time policy, could be because they don’t need to with their child but mine would take full advantage.
Or when he has friends come over, we have to be the “uncool” house that restricts technology. It is a hard job implementing the right things for our son but the other option could potentially ruin his life.
Honestly, it almost came close 2 years ago.
My son’s personality is more prone to this kind of obsession. He is quiet, an introvert personality type, and doesn’t care for sports, hunting, fishing, or anything to do with a lot of people.
He is perfectly content to never partake in anything other than the online world (including strangers), despite us making him try almost every sport or social engagement first.
That is our rule. You have to at least try it before you can decide you don’t like it and don’t want to do it again. Nothing ever stuck. Except for computer day camp.
The Good News
With that being said, he is very intelligent and an extreme tech geek. He knows how to code to make games, animate, make and edit videos, type up anything in a flash, make some killer powerpoint presentations, and even helped design my website layout.
He has taught me a ton when it comes to the benefits of youth and technology!
That’s the good part.
But it was such a hard road to get to this point, including counseling appointments and some eye-opening realizations.
You can read about our struggle and solutions HERE. We all have come a long way, and being consistent with the rules has really helped him navigate an online world better.
It still is a struggle. It literally is a full-time job for us as his parents to keep up with his activity online.
Doing the daily maintenance on his devices, paying attention to him and his behavior, ensuring that he is using technology for his benefit and not for destruction.
I KNOW that I am strict when it comes to this matter. Mostly because with my son’s personality, being blindsided by the situations we found ourselves in, I have to be.
I cringe at the thought of the things these kids are experiencing online, knowing they can’t developmentally rationalize it, I mean sometimes I can’t either!
Also, because this issue has been laid on my heart to notice and advocate for, keeping our kids safe and genuine for as long as possible.
Ensuring that they are equipped with the tools to deal with all the negative aspects of what they may encounter.
Because that is honestly how it has to be. Technology and screens are not going to just go away. And believe it or not, that is actually a really good thing.
There Are Numerous Benefits
As an adult, think of where you would be without technology!
Having so much information at our fingertips CAN be a good thing if we allow it. It can fill us with knowledge, community, information, and great opportunities.
We HAVE to set a good example. We HAVE to show our children there is a time and a place for technology, and that they are still more important to us than our phones. It goes full circle.
Modern day technology has been exponentially beneficial. So many people wouldn’t be able to survive without it, literally, medical technology has saved lives.
We Have To Get The Balance with Youth and Technology Right
Finding the Balance between healthy and unhealthy internet use is SO CRITICALLY IMPORTANT!
It is such a fine line between letting your child self-destruct with lack of supervision and instruction when it comes to screens and the internet, OR showing them how to use the internet for their benefit to enhance their future.
The difference is imperative!
At this point that we are at in our modern-day world, having the tools to navigate life with the internet at our fingertips and still function while demonstrating self-discipline is going to make the difference of who we become, what we do, and what skills we possess.
It literally can be the difference in our course of life. Technology is now, technology is our future, and given the right healthy and conducive relationship with it, the possibilities are endless.
And of course, scroll down and leave your thoughts and comments for us below!
Amy is a contributor to this site and a full-time blogger over at NorthFourthSt.com.