I get royally annoyed when I see kids in public with an iPhone, iPod or some kind of tablet on their faces while in public. Really? You can’t discipline your children to behave in public and interact like normal human beings? My favorite is seeing teens in the restaurants with their parents. Mom and dad are chatting while the teenager is busy texting or playing a game. Wow. I always have to stop myself from getting up and telling the kids to put their gadgets away. I know that the parents won’t appreciate that and that approach is socially unacceptable.
Why the heck are they called “social media?” I swear that all these apps and gadgets do that opposite and make today’s kids antisocial; incapable of face to face communication and interaction. I deal with the public everyday and I do see the effect of all these tech. The eye-to-eye contact during a conversation is more and more becoming a loss art. It seems that it has been acceptable to look at somebody’s foot or knees to carry on a conversation. I tend to stop mid-sentence and pause to have them look at my face. This happens with adults too but more so with teens and kids in my experience.
Be the parent
Too many parents, dads specifically, want to be on their kids’ good side. Tell you what. You’re hurting your child for not providing some form of discipline and structure when you let them consume tech without restrictions. Put a time-limit on their computer, phone and gaming. I love hearing, “I’m bored.” Guess what? There are a ton of things to do to make the house, yard and rooms nice and shiny.
Start at home
The home is a nice, safe and private place to start implementing your tech rules. The last thing you want to embarrass your kids in public. This will not help. Put yourself in their shoes and think, “My dad just yelled at me in front of my friends.” It doesn’t feel good. Does it? Again, establish the rules and guidelines at home and communicate with your kids what you expect in public. An example would be, “No phones while in the restaurants.” Don’t overwhelm kids with rules either; specially the young ones. The more you throw at them, the less will stick to their memory.
Repercussions and follow through
Parents fail with the promise that something will happen if the rules are broken. Please don’t expect to have your kids take you seriously if you’re a softy when it comes to repercussions. Do it. No gaming means no gaming if rules are broken. Phones go away means they won’t see their valuable device for a while. The crying, pouting and tantrums will stop eventually. They’ll have to eat, poop or pee at some given point. Right?
I guess what I’m getting at here is to stop relying on tech to be the baby-sitter. Be involved with your kids and put forth the effort. They will reject it in the beginning. I will guarantee that. But you will find that they will start adopting your guidance unknowingly and will find better, more productive use of their time. Please, don’t point it out either. Just enjoy raising a well-rounded, tech-savvy child.