“Process not outcome” is a statement you may have seen everywhere. When a sprinter gets ready on the start line, his mind is not focused on how it will feel like to win; instead, on each sequential movement he would need to make it to the finishing line.
This got me thinking about parenting. Many times we engage ourselves in knots focusing on the outcomes we have envisaged for our children rather focusing on the actual moment we are living in. It’s all too easy to focus on your child’s academic results or getting things on time, but this emphasis on the end goal makes us frustrated if our children don’t make progress towards the outcome.
The word “Parenting” has an ‘–ing’ on its end because it is a process. It comprises of a chain of decisions and moments. And it is these moments that we have to make sure whether we have got it right or not. Moments matter, not the finishing line.
Digital Technology: Another Challenge for Parents
This brings me to the moment we, as parents, are facing a technology revolution. We never used phablets; notes or even cell phones were not that common in our era. But this has brought another challenge for the parents of millennials: the parenting process has to be evolved in order to cater to this technology revolution.
Today our kids want to use every new gadget. Cell phones, tablets, video games, and computer – an average child has spent hundreds of hours on digital technologies by this time. All these technologies have changed the way parenting is done.
Parents today need to be on their toes to monitor their children’s online activities and technology usage. Though those digital technologies have provided parents to entertain or look after their kids, all of these apps and websites have created more decisions, more research and more rules to negotiate with their children. Digital technology has rendered parenting more challenging.
Adapting Parenting to Technology Overdrive
This is a fast moving world and we have to adapt to it sooner than later if we do not want our children to go astray. With the provision of internet, teens are increasingly exposed to risks of online pornography, cyber bullying, and sexting. A recent research by UK Council for Child Internet Safety concluded that by the age of 14 almost all (94%) of kids reported seeing online pornography. And surprisingly, approximately 60% of the boys continued to see online pornography after first viewing it.
Considering its impact, there are following suggestions that can help you improve your parenting process in line with the digital technology.
There is No Substitute for Parent
Many times it seems like parents are using technology as a baby sitter. Parents nowadays provide their children with iPads and smartphones when they hang out with them. Sometimes, they are forking out money on these devices to keep kids quiet. But tablets and smartphones do not make parenting easier but rather expose kids to online risks.
A research by Center on Media and Human Development at Northwestern University in Illinois found out that about 37% of the parents said that that they are likely to distract their kids by offering smartphones while cooking dinner, and 17% said that they had used tablets and other mobile devices to placate their upset child. And more often, parents used technology as a carrot and stick approach i.e. either as a reward for good behavior or as punishment for questionable behavior.
Turn to A Parental Control App
The introduction of contemporary technology has also brought with it some solutions for parents to monitor the online activity of their children. Parental control apps can be a very helpful tool in this regard. They have those features that can limit the harmful impacts of digital media and online activity on your children. Here are a couple of the solutions they offer to regulate your parenting process.
- You can track your children through a parental control app in various ways. More and more parents are using digital technology whether it is GPS phone tracking to keep a tab on their kids or internet monitoring. Some parents are more concerned about their kids’ schoolwork, so they no longer have to rely on their children to bring home their report cards. They can simply log on to see their children’s academic performance.
- Overuse of social media and spending hours on the YouTube by the kids may be every parent’s concern now. You can limit the screen time usage of your children by using a parental control app. This would not only help in saving them from pornography or related content, but also from psychological impacts like stress and health risks of over usage of technology.
Watch Out for More Decisions
But it doesn’t end here, there will be lot more decisions to make with growing digital age. Parenting has to be more digital. Parents need to adapt to it. Before the digital age parents used to set limits for their kids like not to talk to the strangers and be back by dinnertime. But in this age, children burn hours playing online games or using Instagram and Facebook.
Being a parent you have to make sure that kids stay safe online by preventing them from navigating myriad apps, social media, and games. Make rules for their usage and stick to them.
The consequences for not setting web safety for children may be dire like there has been news of suicides by playing a game ‘Blue Whale Challenge’. The parenting must evolve to counter the technological challenges posed by the digital revolution.