Unplugging Parenting – Hidden Dangers of Overuse of technology by parents
Created by Neha Gupta Mittal Updated on Mar 14, 2021
Technology transcends generations, fields and does not stop with financial fencing. Instances of appearance of technology vary, but its presence does not cease to exist. Yes, these days putting technology to use is synonymous with working formats but parenting is not a task, a job or a work, it’s a virtue. It is way beyond a mere set of day-to-day activities; it’s a live responsibility of creating a fine human being.
Taking help from technology and putting technology in complete charge of your child are two very different things. In today’s world technology, as a tool of parenting is abused more than used discretionally. A tender mind is given access to the finest of technology leading to a classic mismatch of innocence and independence. Overuse of technology has led to:
1. Disoriented upbringing
Situation: One day Kia’s mother invited some relatives over for dinner. Kia refused to even glance at them because she was busy chatting with her online friends. The mother was embarrassed but this behavioural disorder did not develop overnight, did it?
Both the child and the parent fail to connect and hence understand each other. Respecting aspirations and commitments does not even feature in the priority list; rather it’s a race of who is able to get his/her way out. One fine day after months or probably years, some odd action or reaction of the child rings the alarm bell for the parents and they miserably ponder about how clueless they were about the child’s mindset. Their own upbringing stares into their worried eyes, without a blink.
2. Give and take relationships
Situation: Aarav is told that if he eats his tiffin all 7 days of the week in school, then the coming weekend his parents will take him to this plush mall in Colaba that has many simulated rides installed. Deal is struck and the work is done. He does what he was told and the awaited Sunday comes. Due to some medical emergency the parents could not fulfill the promise and next Monday afternoon, Aarav comes back home with a full tiffin.
Quite easy and almost all the parents will relate to this. The child does not learn exchange policies, bargaining and trade from birth. It is the parents who make them aware of these traits, initially, for their own convenience and later on to fulfill a tantrum-threatened demand. Parents train them in: “You do this, I give you this; if you don’t I won’t!!!
3. Easy escapes from difficult situations
Situation: Dhani wanted to show her father a drawing she made in the class and also share some school stories. He was home as he had taken an off but was busy chatting with a colleague about some future projects. As an escape, he gave his other phone to Dhani and told her to play for a while. She lost the tempo and he lost his chance of peeping into his daughter’s thoughts.
Parenting requires patience and participation. Today, parents own lives are buzzing with activities and they use technology as a baby-sitter. And the child continues to linger to it with apathy, till the parents finish what they were doing or planning to do.
4. Physical hazards
Situation: Advait goes to a resort with his family for a weekend break. The resort has a pool, a play area and also a gymnasium. While the parents switch off their phones and wish to swim and play with Advait, he finds comfort only in his I-pad. He is constantly playing Clash of Titans and the parents cannot say anything because his argument is, “Any which ways this is what I do in my spare time at home. You guys continue to enjoy, I have almost made it to the next level so I don’t want to stop abruptly.”
Over exposure to gadgets and devices hampers the physical growth and development of the child. In fact it also has negative effects on the sensory development of the child. The role of trees, fresh air, water, sunlight and stars in the life of a child can never be underestimated or undermined. A child’s playfulness is visible while he/she runs, jumps, writes, draws and plays board games.
5. Faulty value system
Situation - Ishaani’s father developed a severe back problem and was hospitalised. She really cared for him and was sad to see him that way. When all the others in the house were busy attending to her father, she quietly slipped into her room and started watching her favourite TV show. It did not engage her meaningfully, in the back of her mind her father’s illness lingered continuously but she sought peace inside the room, not outside with others. She chose non-doing over action and leading.
Instilling moral values in a child is an innate aspect of parenting. However technology overlaps and occupies a child’s mind to such an extent that they fail to understand the difference between right and wrong. Love, understanding, respect for elders, praying, caring and sharing with younger ones, there is little room for all this because technology comes in way of the parent-child bonding which develops these values. The mind becomes so biased that the child whose parents give him the most expensive and latest gadget are treated with high respect and admiration in the children community.
My blog is not anti technology, but yes its purpose is to prove that overuse of technology comes in way of effective parenting. The idea is to create a self realisation amongst all those tech savvy parents who have given gadgets to their child as a replacement for their time.
| Feb 09, 2020
Thank you for this blog. Many parents today are new generation breeds and seldom have time for their kids due to work, networking and socializing functions. New generation breed of parents often see their own parents as "Old School" and never genuinely learn the tactics of parenting from them. Technology only worsens an already existing problem. If parents today can persistently lead by example (spend quality time with their kids, teaching their kids to bond with their grand-parents and teaching them more about God's values), the negative influence of technology on children will die naturally.