The Connected Generation #4: Please Mom, 5 More Minutes!

Technology plays a dominant role in lives of today’s kids and teenagers.  Is this a good thing?

As our recent series of articles demonstrates, technology plays a leading and dominant role in the lives of today’s kids and teenagers.  It is a role that is generally both accepted and encouraged by society, especially as we become more technology-advanced.
Nevertheless, there is disagreement stemming from the belief that kids and teenagers are spending too much time on computers, phones, social media, video games, etc. than is strictly necessary.
This is a sticky situation.  While spending too much time playing video games or using social media is not a good idea, neither is expecting kids and teenagers to go cold turkey on their technology.
 
So what is the appropriate course of action?
 

Setting Rules and Guidelines

One of the most common methods is setting rules and guidelines for both kids, teenagers, and their parents regarding technology use.  A recent study showed that kids and teenagers respond well to rules regarding a particular technology activity.[1]
 
For example, rules that say your 6 year old is “Not allowed to have a Facebook account” or “Play Grand Theft Auto” work better than a vague, all-encompassing rule like “no smartphones at the dinner table”. [2]
 
Instigating rules and guidelines is not an easy task.  Parents often have to cut back on their own technology use in order to set a good example for their children.  This can be difficult especially if parents are equipped to work remotely or used to answering emails and messages after working hours.
 
Starting small by adopting rules and guidelines that are not too much-too soon, fair, and easy to follow can help both kids/teenagers and their parents uphold them.
 

Is Technology A Detriment to Kids and Teenagers?

Kids and teenagers today are being exposed to technologies and devices that probably did not exist when their parents were younger.  For some, smartphones, social media, etc. will have always been a part of their lives.
This results in high technology usage as kids and teenagers depend on technology to manage their days and stay up-to-date with their friends.
 
Is this a bad thing?  Hard to say exactly and it depends on who you ask.
 
Focusing on the positive side, exposure to technology at a young age can help to stimulate creativity.  We would not have the technological innovations currently taking up our kids’ time and energy if it weren’t for those who were originally inspired to make technology better.
 
Furthermore, an article by TIME Magazine describes how, despite previous misgivings, interest in non-technology related activities such as reading and outdoor exercise have not entirely gone by the wayside.  A vast majority of kids stated reading was one of their favourite pastimes and spent upwards of 1 hour or more on physical exercise.[3]
 
It’s significant to see that some activities have not completely fallen out of use and that today’s kids and teenagers, despite access to technology, still engage in them.
 

In Conclusion

While it is evident that the amount of time kids and teenagers spend in front of a screen (computer, smartphone, or otherwise) has significantly increased over the years, exposure to technology does not have to be a bad thing.
 
While it is impossible to avoid or boycott technology altogether, those who are concerned that their children are overusing should work to instigate rules and guidelines around consumption.  These rules will allow kids and teenagers to use their computer, smartphones, chat on social media, etc. while also taking time to engage in other non-technological activities.
 
References for this Article:

[1] Misner, Dan. (2016, March 15).  Study asks parents, kids which technology rules work.  CBC News.     Retrieved from  https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/kids-technology-rules-1.3491211
[2] Misner, Dan. (2016, March 15).  Study asks parents, kids which technology rules work.  CBC News.     Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/kids-technology-rules-1.3491211
[3] Jones, Heather., & Luscombe Belinda. (2015, November 4). The Truth About Kids and Tech.  TIME   For Kids.  Retrieved  from  https://www.timeforkids.com/news/truth-about-kids-and-tech/304976

 
Courtney Rosebush is a Marketing and Sales Coordinator at Triella, a technology consulting firm specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Courtney can be reached at 647.426.1004 x 227. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.
© 2016 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

 

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