Not everyone teaches their children about technology the same way.
We all know that technology has transformed our world — and the way we raise our kids. Every family has its own way of teaching kids about technology. Here are some of the typical patterns we’ve observed. Which one best describes you?
These parent never know how to use technology and always need their kids to teach them. They have no idea what apps are trending or which ones their kids use.
Their excuse is that life without technology was much easier and that we were all happier before it came along. They don’t tend to use a cell phone, or they use one from the prehistoric era that doesn’t even have a camera.
Although this type of parent may benefit from the time her kids spend teaching her, she needs to make an effort to find out what her kids are using, saying, and doing online.
The Novelty Lover
You’ll find this parent in line at the Apple store on new product release days. He has them all — the watch, the laptop, the tablet, the smartphone… and they’re all synced up.
His kids love this because they get his hand-me-downs — all the devices he sets aside when he buys the latest models.
This type of parent might be too cool for school, but he has to be careful about what message he’s sending to his kids about consumerism.
This parent can’t leave the house without at least three devices. Her children are always equipped with the latest devices and chargers. She can’t live without wifi and she asks for the password wherever she goes. She’s the first one to pull out her phone to take videos, and her kids’ lives are all over Instagram.
Although we all relate a bit with this type of parent, we need to understand that there are times when we need to drop the cell phone and just be with other people… fully present, in the moment, without broadcasting it to the world.
You won’t find a single screen in this parent’s home. He has very clear rules about the use of technology: it’s only for what is strictly necessary.
He’s always taking his kids to outdoor activities, and he constantly criticizes the way technology has taken over such a leading role in our lives. He will even argue with the teachers when they send the kids home with homework that has to be done on the computer.
Although he means well, this type of parent needs to look for a better balance: when used moderately, technology can be a great tool, and the truth is, it’s here to stay.
This type of parent only uses technology to teach her children. Her own smartphone is full of educational apps, and she’s convinced that the more time her kids spend watching educational programs, the smarter they’ll be.
She’s right on one point: it’s better to use technology for learning than for distraction.
But there are also a lot of things to learn outside of tech. Hands-on experience and observing real life are the best ways for kids to learn.
There are many ways to use technology as parents. The most important thing is to realize that our kids are watching us, and if we’re unable to put the cell phone down even for a minute, or if we give it too much importance, then our kids will probably internalize that message.
Let’s always remind them that technology is a means, not an end in itself. It’s a means for learning, connecting with people, and seeking information. But if we give it more importance than it deserves, for good or for bad, we are putting it in the center of our life and missing out on what life should be all about.
This article was originally published in the Spanish edition of Aleteia and has been translated and/or adapted here for English speaking readers.