Something strange is happening in the universe. I wrote a post on depression and anxiety back in January, and all of a sudden now (6+ months later) the post is giving me tons of traffic from Pinterest.
I can’t say I’m mad about it, but it brings up a couple semi-related thoughts that I need to address.
There are thousands—no millions—of people who are experiencing depression and/or anxiety every single day.
And it seems like this evolving era of tech has given us way more than just a more connected world.
People are losing themselves every day to the internet.
I’ve about had it.
It’s no surprise that I’m a millennial. At six years old I had my own computer in my mom’s home office. I had computer games that taught me how to type. I memorized my phone number by typing it into the calculator. Tech was at my fingertips any time I wanted it.
But I didn’t always want it.
There were times my friends would come over and all they would want to do was play on the computer or watch TV because they weren’t allowed to at their house. I wanted to play Barbies or dolls or anything else that had to do with playing pretend. I guess you could say that I was a dreamer from the start.
Fast forward 21 years to 2017.
Technology is all-consuming.
You can check your e-mail, make a reservation, call a friend face-to-face, send text and picture messages, manage your finances, schedule appointments, play games, find a job, go shopping—all while surfing the web from the comfort of your smartphone.
It’s actually ridiculous how efficient these little handheld devices can be.
But there’s a problem.
We don’t know what to do without it.
Without even realizing it, we’ve become addicted to these machines. So much that when we lose or misplace them we don’t know what to do with ourselves.
I’ve heard it many times before. I don’t know what I’d do without my phone. We feel out of touch—out of sorts. Like we’re missing everything that’s going on in the world. It’s dangerous really, because we’re giving these inanimate objects complete control over how we function in our daily lives. And it’s only going to get worse.
The power struggle needs to stop.
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. But it’s starting to interfere with the way some people parent. And I’ll be the first person to admit it.
I, too, used to hand my phone off to my daughter when she was throwing a temper tantrum because it was easier than actually addressing the reason behind the tantrum. Pure laziness, which is why the millennial generation is earning such a bad rap.
We need to start being more attentive. We need to stop letting technology babysit our children. We need to address these issues head on.
Our children are learning that instead of learning how to cope with their emotions, they can just tune in to something and forget the problem altogether. But this is helpful for no one.
Children desperately need to be able to feel, and we need to give them a chance to do so. We’re not helping anybody by letting these moments get swept under the rug. It’s probably the reason I hear more and more parents complain about their kids bad behavior. But we can’t blame them because we’ve never given them a chance to experience it before. We need to stop taking the easy way out and address these issues from the get-go.
Create a no phone zone.
The first time I found myself yelling at my daughter because I was in the middle of reading an article online, I panicked. I knew right away that if I didn’t get my act together I would regret it when she got older. And really, I don’t ever want her to think that anything on my phone is more important than her. And I’m sure you probably don’t either. That’s why it’s imperative to create a no phone zone.
- Have a conversation with your family about technology and the roll that it plays in their lives. This is a great time to explain the pros and cons, and to let everyone voice their opinion. There is no right or wrong, the point is to get everything out in the open before laying down the ground rules.
- Set specific times that children are allowed to be connected. Before dinner is a great place to start because it gives you the quiet time you need to get everything on the table, and it usually doesn’t take more than an hour or so, which is plenty of time for kids to be watching TV or using the Internet. Use the time after dinner to do something together as a family that DOES NOT involve technology. Play a game, read a book, do a craft, take a walk… the possibilities are endless.
- Be consistent. I need to start taking my own advice on this one, but it’s pretty much the icing on top of the cake. Once you’ve put your plan in place you have to stick to it. Kids need to know that what you say is going to happen is actually going to happen, or else they start to take advantage of it. And that my friend, is a much larger problem with a much longer road to recovery that you DO NOT want to embark on. Do yourself and everyone else around you a favor and do what you say you’re going to. The kids will remember, and in the end it will help them become a much more enjoyable human being to be around.
How do you feel about technology? Is it good or bad for the future of parenting children? Let me know in the comment section below!
Talk to you soon,