It’s unfortunate, but so many parents today have succumbed to the smartphone phenomenon especially with their children – they haven’t considered the big picture.
They take an “everyone is doing it” approach with their decisions and then wonder why their child is acting-up. For others, they are simply uncertain about the rules for a technology they know little about. Even schools are requiring your kid to have a device regardless of how you may feel about it or before you have a chance to really educate yourself.
The problem we are faced with today is that parents are so far behind on what this technology can do, it means that without much guidance, kids are using devices and social media blindly.
Which is why today, we want to share with you some stories from parents who (unfortunate for them) can give us lessons from hindsight. They now have teenagers and young adults who have spent years on devices – and the affects have come to bear.
If parents could make device decisions for their children based on knowledge, it would eliminate the ‘crossing your fingers’ or ‘following the crowd’ approach. If they were able to lead their children through the digital age based on the understanding of what is driving their child, they would be more equipped to navigate their child effectively and with certainty.
Here are some situations that ordinary parents have found themselves faced with as the first generation to raise kids of the digital age.
“IT KEPT THEM OCCUPIED AND ALLOWED US TO GET SOME THINGS DONE, LIKE COOKING AND TIDING UP!”.
This became a routine for us. The more we allowed them on the device the quieter they were and we allowed that to continue. Today, my kids are older and I think they are generally self-centred and lazy. They really are on the device all day. I see now that I spent more time doing the practical things myself because it was quicker but now it’s a real struggle … not only to get them off that bl**dy phone, but to teach them some skills – and habits – that I could have taught much earlier. It’s really hard to get them to do tasks like stack or clear the dishwasher, wash the car or bathe the dog … and don’t get me started on mowing the lawn! They don’t do any of it properly. I just wish we had been more insistent on them learning.
“OF ALL THE TOYS THEY COULD PLAY WITH, THE DEVICE WAS MESS-FREE … NO DIRT OR RUBBISH … NO NOISE OR WASHING!”
Even if we were at BBQs our kids were really contained and quiet. We thought the device was amazing. We didn’t grow up with devices and people were telling us how much kids can learn on them. What we didn’t realise is how isolating devices can be, even when they are hanging out together they aren’t really talking, it’s strange. I thought that was normal, but I don’t believe so now.
Now our daughter is older she finds it hard to be social especially with adults and our son is 19 and doesn’t come out of his room because he is still gaming … at 19. Our daughter speaks in clipped conversation – maybe she’s just shy – but I think she is really disconnected. She hangs onto that phone constantly, when she is without it she is highly anxious … almost jittery … you can see it. Maybe we didn’t really integrate our kids with other people as much as we could have because now it feels like they cannot socialise without the security of their phone. We had absolutely no idea, well, we didn’t even think what we were ultimately teaching them.
“THE BOYS HAD EVERY VIDEO GAME AND LATEST DEVICE FROM THE TIME THEY WERE ABOUT 5”.
My experience of parenting was overwhelming. You are constantly afraid of stuffing up. I ‘know’ deep down that material things are not important – that’s how I was brought up. But it was different with my own children. The boys took to the games and devices like fish to water – no I didn’t “think” that the technology is designed for their age group… I thought of it like a skill.
I thought they were amazing! Today my boys prefer interacting with their phone than their parents. They prefer hanging out with people online gaming, then in person. The phone is with them 24/7 – and that was our fault, we just didn’t think about what they were doing. We cannot compete – the phone absolutely disrupts family time.
“MY SON ALWAYS WANTED TO BE POPULAR EVER SINCE GRADE 6”
We gave him a phone because we could, all his friends had one. My son went to a prestigious boy’s school. There was no doubt his phone was the most important thing he owned. We know now he used to hook up with kids older than he and deal drugs. We know social media was pretty much his only tool. He would collect YouTube videos that were really revolting and cruel and forward it on to try to be cool. They would film themselves graffitiing and other things. We gave him the world and a superior education but we don’t really see him anymore. He is 20.
A NEW GENERATION OF PARENTS IS EMERGING
Chrissy is a mother who has heard these stories too often from family, friends and colleagues with children a lot older than hers. “As a new mother I’m really concerned about the environment in which my daughter will grow. From the minute she was born my partner and I used devices, it is normal now. Interestingly, the topic of devices and social media is all around me and I can see the effects. I know kids who become unruly, secretive, disconnected – and really – extremely distracted. When I took my daughter to the park one day it really stood out to me how the children were playing. It seemed totally different to how we would play when we were kids. I noticed there were kids sitting on the swings, but they were looking at their phones – they weren’t ‘swinging’ on the swings!
Wanting to know more about the device phenomenon I couldn’t find much outside of cyber safety, the government website and out of date texts. The deviceKids program was mind-blowing.
It made me realise that ‘not knowing’ about a major part of the society that I’m raising my daughter in, just isn’t good enough. The world is different and so much of it is out of our control. Raising kids today definitely brings new challenges that my parents did not have and I think these challenges are so much harder (my parents agree).
The program was not only an amazing education; it was structured in a way that made it easy to understand – it just made sense. It was definitely confronting at times and I just can’t believe what kids can get up too. It painted the full picture for me and I get it now.”
Chrissy and her partner Gary, have made significant changes in their lifestyle. They have a clarity in decisions they make for their daughter that they didn’t before. They do not use devices in front of her, nor are they interrupted by it during playtime or mealtime. Where they see other parents using a device as a pacifier, Chrissy has chosen to teach her child how to behave and be occupied by the environment. When they are with their daughter they are disciplined at being present in the moment.
“The more experiences our daughter has that makes her use her brain and her body, the more capable she will be. I don’t want my child searching online for validation or connection or a sense of belonging and that is what is happening for so many kids today. I don’t want a stranger feeding her information or her learning about sex online.
I want her to be sure of herself to make good choices. And that comes down to the choices we make for her. For the first time, I have framework of how to define what we want for her. I definitely understand what the concept of social media is all about and I feel so much stronger and confident with how to lead her.
I recommend the program to any parent who wants to guide their kids instead of their kids influenced blindly.”
GAIN CONTROL OR TAKE BACK CONTROL
Chrissy is lucky enough to have a head start with the knowledge she has in raising her daughter in a digital world. She has equipped herself with an education that most parents or teachers do not have. In the digital world, it’s not just kids who need to learn but parents do too – they are just different lessons. Kids growing up today are asking for leadership and we have just the strategies for you!
Help I’m a parent of a deviceKid is a step-by-step 5-week leadership program for parents that closes the knowledge gap between those who were born digital and those who are not. This program has been made accessible for any adult who has any influence over children. There’s so much to learn and what’s more, you can learn in your own time! Get started today!
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.