The 7 things parents do that undermine their own authority … according to kids!


Hands up how many parents are still engaging in device debates with the kids? How many of you feel or even know that you may be losing? Have you thought about why you could be losing?

The gap between what kids know and are engaging in when compared to their parents is widening … including their observations of how you are handling technology. Too often parents lack of knowledge of the device world undermines their own authority when it comes to guiding their kids! So, we thought we’d take it to some deviceKids and find out what they think about their parents own behaviours!

1. Parent: “Who has the time to learn about apps and technology, I don’t really get it – I just get my kids to help me!”

From a deviceKid’s perspective:

Parents say they ‘want to know about what apps we use or how to do this or that’ but then don’t pay attention when you show them and generally don’t remember what you’ve told them. They are just lazy. It’s like they try to be the parent in charge but have no idea what they are doing. They’re not really that smart with technology – they act a bit hopeless.

Of course kids really like imparting their knowledge on to parents because it makes them feel smart, capable and valued. By listening to them and taking on board what they are teaching you about devices and social media, you are contributing to your kid feeling respected and modelling that you are actually interested in what they are doing and that you are capable of, and enjoy learning. It may be handy in the beginning to have the kids do the tech stuff but at some point, you do need to know what is going on – otherwise you will lose some respect from the kids which undermines your authority.

2. Parent: “Who knows what they get up to in the online world – I do trust they aren’t doing anything they shouldn’t be!”

From a deviceKid’s perspective:

It would be quite impressive if parents really understood the issues we face growing up in the digital age – instead of just saying how glad they are that they didn’t grow up today. That’s not helpful. The truth is they have no idea what we do online – or even what we can do. Parents don’t really care what we do – they don’t even know how to ask about it. Sometimes they are the reason! If they had any clue on the topic they would know how to help, but they don’t.

Ouch! This is a biggy. You can’t be over your kids’ shoulder every minute of the day but you can work hard to engage them and create an open communication. This doesn’t mean asking point blank “what are you doing online?”. It takes effort to build and instill trust, rapport and a sense of safety for your kid to admit or discuss what’s on their mind and what they do online. There are so many reasons why they won’t tell you what they discuss on social media and often it’s because they don’t feel heard in their 3D word and turn to ‘strangers’ online. If kids don’t think that you understand or even worse, that you don’t care to understand – then how can they rely on you for help? This will very quickly undermine your authority because your kids can’t take your words seriously.


3. Parent: “Of course we have device boundaries at home!”.

From a deviceKid’s perspective:

My parents will tell you that they remove our phones, but they don’t. Mum just lies – and dad never removes our device, he is on his all the time. They have double standards, they back down really easily and don’t really care if we have our phone. Parents just don’t want to look bad in front of their friends – especially other mums from school. It’s stupid really.

Our discussions with parents more times than not, show that parents like to think they do reinforce the rules but in truth, they are quite lax. This impacts nobody else but your child, and in more ways than one. Parents definitely promote what they know they ‘ought to be doing’ – which suggests they do have some idea of the need – but then don’t do it. Perhaps it’s the parent guilt syndrome to give in with saving face in front their own parent peers to avoid judgement. Either way, it really undermines your authority when guiding your kids because they see the hypocrisy.

4. Parent: “When the kids are on their devices it means I can have a phone conversation and get things done without interruption – it’s wonderful!”

From a deviceKid’s perspective:

Parents are definitely happy when we’re on our devices because we’re out of their way! My folks don’t really care what I’m doing really unless it’s to do chores or do something for them, otherwise they are happy if I’m on my phone and quiet. This will be the same for most of my friends, for sure.

An oldie but a goodie. Unfortunately we’ve got ourselves into this mess and are now seeing the consequences of using the device as the babysitter, the pacifier and the silencer. Kids like to be engaged with their parents – it’s important for their development. Kids like it when you hang with
them, and listen to them and play with them. You are their teacher for the most part of their youth. How do you maintain any authority when you allow kids on devices to occupy them instead of being productive, engaging and training them?

5. Parents: “We hang out as a family often.”

From a deviceKid’s perspective:

We hardly ever do anything as a family, watching movies or being online is probably the most together thing we do. They never want to’ do anything’, it’s always too hard or their too busy or next time, or whatever … the device is more interesting anyway.

It seems like more and more family time and conversations are obscured by a screen. We can’t even watch a movie together without nursing a smart device and glancing at it exclusively every second moment. Although you may think your kids are quietly content in their room on social media, don’t be fooled. Reliance on a device is a different feeling to wanting to have fun with you and engage in something different! To not truly engage with each other really denies kids an opportunity to connect, learn something new or have some genuine family and social fun. Seeing you lead family outings, creating interests and having fun puts you in a different light – it shows you in a leadership role that teaches your kids new information, how to engage, how to focus, how to laugh and enjoy each other.

6. Parent: “I only use Facebook, but not all the time – I just check in ”

From a deviceKid’s perspective:

My mum is always posting to Facebook, she’s more interested in her ‘friends’ than she is about me.” Parents don’t realise how much they are on their phone. I don’t know what mum did before Facebook and games! She will talk to you but you definitely feel like you’re interrupting her. I think it’s rude.

You see it all the time, at school, at sport, shopping … kids trying to talk or show their parents something whilst mum or dad are engrossed in their phone or “just hold on darling mummy just has to do this…”, “ …. sorry, what was that son?”. Parents … surely you know that kids – especially tweens and teens – are savvy … they can see your posts … they know what you do and say. Kids need your attention for a reason – they shouldn’t have to constantly wait for you to be done with your device. How can you hold any authority with your kids and their device behaviour when you a modelling the wrong behavior in the first place?

7. Parent: “I am more comfortable with them in their room on the device than out with friends.”

From a deviceKid’s perspective:

It’s good because then we can do whatever we want. Even when we are with our friends we are online anyway because that’s what we do. It’s better for gaming to not be using the same console as it slows down the internet – most of my gaming friends are online anyway. I can do whatever I want without question from my parents.

And so here it begins … social media the place where you meet people you would never normally meet, where you feel like you belong when you find other people who feel like you do, where you fall in love and break up, the place to be seen, to be cool to try to be popular… the world where you can be, do and say anything you want to with little to know consequence. Social media the place where you can roam the world free to do anything and everything – all access. Social media, the all access pass, straight from behind their bedroom door.


There exists a gap between what parents ‘think they know’ and what they actually know! It is in this gap where many children find themselves. After many hours of research, this report is made available to you FREE OF CHARGE– because every parent MUST read it! You will discover 6 THOUGHT PROVOKING INSIGHTS into how device usage is impacting children and parents – everyday single day.

Download your free Impact Report today!