Dilemma of parenting in digital age

Thursday June 4 2020



Robert Tumwijukye

Robert Tumwijukye  

By Robert Tumwijukye

Information Technology is progressively becoming part of our everyday lives with parenting and technology now going hand-in-hand and many children brought up in an environment surrounded by digital devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets.
Modern day Children are extremely curious about many things. Sometimes, it can feel like a huge task trying to answer all the homework and other related questions they’re asking, but thanks to technology, it has come in handy to help many parents. Children have become more independent with some of their questions and this has also enhanced their capacity to learn.

Many children these days have access to many different educational tools that help them to progress with their learning and various studies have shown that children who play video games regularly have advanced cognitive skills compared to those who don’t play such games. But there is a cost that has come with exposing children to these gadgets.

Some children spend their free time on electronic gadgets without real-life regular interaction with others; this may lead them to grow up without forming the essential social skills that they’ll need in life. This can result in children finding it difficult to form friendships and relationships with others later in life. Due to exposure to violent video games and films, some children, sometimes want to practice their newly acquired skills on their friends or siblings, this may not only cause incidents but can also harm their mental and emotional development on top of their academic success.

Computer games and television programmes are equally on the increase with its related negative consequences, including effects on children eyesight and unwanted behaviours. Children could potentially form behavioral issues that may harm their development.
Uncontrolled usage of technology devices, especially in classes, or during other activities habituates brains to constantly switch between tasks and this is harmful to children.

To mitigate some of the risks that have come with digital devices, parents ought to try their best to keep up to speed with the latest technologies where possible. Ask questions where there is doubt, enforce appropriate curfews, consult fellow parents, workmates and encourage open discussion with the child/ren about their usage of smart devices.
Don’t rush to give your child/ren smartphones and don’t leave phones around. Sexting has become the new Normal to the teenagers. Social media is where teens enjoy their lives and yet it’s also where their lives can be messed up. Parents must explore means to mitigate the risks before it’s too late.

Preserve sleep patterns and ensure all gaming devices such as, tablets, laptops, or phones are charged overnight and in one place, not in a children’s room.
Parents shouldn’t forget that we are all in this thing (technology) together with the children. Therefore, parents must be good role models when it comes to technology use. Technology is not a problem when used in moderation.
However, with the current trends of children accessing high-tech mobile phones, tablets and laptops, we need to pursue a technology balance for our children, to capitalise on the benefits and alleviate the negative effects of technology in childhood development.

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