#2 – Do you fear technology in your kids’ world?
Do you think kids and technology is trouble waiting to happen? Is your household a ‘kids tech free’ zone or a free-for-all. Like or loathe it, technology (or tech as more commonly referred) is here to stay and will play a big part in our kids’ future.
When we parents talk about tech, usually it is a reference to using mobile devices such as tablets (iPads, galaxy note etc.), smartphones, and games consoles. It’s not only the use of these devices in isolation but the access they give to both kids and those that intend harm, that concerns us parents.
On the Dads Like Us podcast Drew and I talk about our slightly different approaches to dealing with our kids and technology. Due to their different ages, with mine being older, the dangers differ, as well as the amount of control I exert. When it comes to our approach to tech in our world, it comes down to three main things:
- Knowledge is power
- Screen addiction
- Restring access using the device functions
- Your child’s environment and other children
- Facing our fears of technology
1. Knowledge is Power
I grew up playing computer games on early gaming machines like the Atari 64 and Spectrum 128k (for those old enough to remember) which were the early birth of gaming consoles. Drew started even earlier, playing pong.
Drew still works heavily with tech daily as a Composer and my love affair with gaming and tech continued throughout my life. It has been a constant learning curve as things change faster than I can keep up, but we both know it is crucial to stay informed especially when you will need to guide your kids and the technology that makes them vulnerable.
Screen and game addiction are both recognised as legitimate addictions by therapists and child psychologists alike. These are beginning to affect young lives especially into their teenage years but starting as early as 2 and 3 years old.
It’s no longer a case of simply keeping our kids safe online, which is still critically important, we’re also learning about some of the other effects these addictions have on their lives, the earlier we notice the signs, the better equipped we are to tackle them early.
Restricting access using the device function
Drew talks about using guided access on the iPad to limit the applications his young daughter can access and time limiting her use of the device. He wants to promote tech within his home and therefore must ensure it is at the right level for her.
My approach is similar, I use the Apple child account to approve apps for my sons on their devices. However having a child of secondary school age means, in addition, I have regular conversations on the dangers of online gaming, YouTube and social media.
Overall the approach is mainly about educating as a full control approach is a fallacy and less impactful.
2. Your child’s environment
No matter how safe we try to make kids, just as they can’t be wrapped in cotton wool to prevent injury, the approach of other parents with their kids and tech can’t be controlled.
Drew talks about a young extended family member exposed to porn by another child. The precautions taken to protect the child from such content were no defence against their environment.
Nothing will prepare anyone for having a child exposed to porn, that’s a situation where damage limitation is the only option and a teachable moment for parent and child.
It as a good reminder on who children interact with and how setting the narrative for a child, not letting their environment ‘educate’ them is critical. It’s our responsibility to educate and protect them against the dangers of using tech online.
3. Fear of Technology
Do you find new technology hard to grasp? Do you have an underlying fear that your child knows more than you? The best strategy is keeping up to date, this doesn’t mean purchasing the latest tech, rather the willingness to learn about it.
The age at which we allow children to have devices is a personal choice, if our lack of knowledge and fear of the unknown makes us prevent them accessing any tech, it will fail as a long term strategy. Children are naturally curious and will seek out and gain access in their own way.
It’s not only children impacted, but jobs are also being replaced daily by automation. Forget all the hype in the media about robots, it will be a very long time before we have to fear the terminator wiping out the human race.
Automation is the immediate threat to your job and livelihood https://dadspodcast.com/automation. What will be the impact of losing your job and industry in a short few years?
Staying tech savvy and knowing what’s happening in your industry is crucial to avoid being put out to pasture. For your child and your own sake, embrace technology or be at the perils of a technologically changing world.