Parents 2.0: How Much Can Technology Influence the Psycho-Attitudinal Growth of Children?

Parents 2.0: How Much Can Technology Influence the Psycho-Attitudinal Growth of Children?

It's a classic summer Sunday morning. To relax, you decide to go and get some "fresh" air in the central park of your city. Looking around, you witness a peculiar scene: a father and a mother sitting on the bench, each with their smartphone in their hands and their child standing next to them bouncing between one parent and another with their hands raised in search of attention that the parents won’t give him or, simply, with the desire to play with his own father or mother who does not satisfy him.

A hot topic of this historical period is the concern about the harmful effects that the new technological tools (tablets, laptops, smartphones, etc.) can cause to children and young people of the tech generation. That sound concern may distract the focus also to the negative effects that technology is causing in the relationship between parents and their children; in particular, we’re talking about the alternate attention that some parents divide between their child and their cell phone.

On this respect, Vanity Fair reports the story of an American child who was asked, for a class assignment, to write about the invention he hates most, and he showed his disapproval of cell phones with this motivation: "my parents spend all day on there." The same article speaks of about interesting study conducted byDigital Awareness UK and the Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference, from which it turned out that, one in three children, openly requested their parents to limit their smartphone use and to dedicate more time to them.

Is it likely that this, let's call it, "partial attention" on the parents’ part can influence the education and psycho-aptitude growth of their children? According to Dr. Brandon McDaniel, yes, unfortunately, it is possible!

Dr. McDaniel, as reported by the Italian website nostrofiglio.it, conducted a survey on a sample of 170 sets of parents to test whether the excessive use of the technological tools parents were the basis of childhood disorders of behavior, such as, for example, hyperactivity, restlessness, attention disorders, etc.

In detail, the US doctor asked parents questions about their daily habits, inquiring specifically how and for how long they used their device during conversations or during activities with their child. Almost half of the respondents admitted that they used to watch their smartphones at least three times a day while doing something with their children.

This study, published in the journal Child Development, brought to light the fact that the lack of attention, even for a few moments, could be perceived by our children in a negative way and could be the beginning of a behavioral disorder.

Another study also carried out in the USA confirms that findings. This time the parents were not the inquired people, but 700 adolescents between 13 and 17 years old about their relationship with their parents. 51% of the kids said that their mom and dad are often distracted by the smartphone even while talking to them. The alarming element that has led to this study is that while adolescents are more conscious and responsible in recognizing their dependence on the phone through notifications, this awareness is less in the "adults" who seem to not recognize their dependence on the mobile device who, indeed, believe they are using them in the right amount.

It is easy today, therefore, to be victims of what is now considered the 21st century disease, the so-called Nomophobia, better known as the disconnection syndrome that can make both adults and children sick.

The age of new technologies is nothing more than a challenge and test for parents 2.0 who find themselves spending their energy not only in imparting a healthy, traditional education to their children, but also constantly reminding themselves to instill in their children an adequate digital education. To do this, the parent 2.0. carries a great responsibility, that of being a good example in everyday life, that is also in the personal use of the networks and new technologies . We must therefore start with ourselves and become aware of how much we are subjected to the object that we carry in our pockets or in our bags. Let us commit ourselves to "disconnect" and dedicate the necessary attention and time to our children. Let’s try to make our children relive the beauty of the light-heartedness of the past years not characterized by discussions or communications in the family via chat, but gathered all around a table or the friendship made through a relationship with the other, physical and visual, rather than virtual, not denying the positive aspects that technology innovation has brought to our lives. Let's try to plant in our whole family, the seed of discernment that helps us to distinguish what is really useful or not in our lives and that our happiness and our personal satisfaction come from the real world rather than the digital one.