Letting Kids Grow Up In The Digital Age
from the mom,-stop-calling dept
It’s no secret that digital communications tools have changed certain aspects of parenting. With all the fears about things like MySpace lately, many people point out that parents (rather than governments or schools) need to have some responsibility concerning what their kids do online. The response we get to this is often how it’s impossible to monitor your kids 24/7 — which is absolutely true. However, that misses the point. It’s not about monitoring your kids, but teaching them how to understand right and wrong and trusting them to either do the right thing, or know when they should at least ask for help. Of course, modern technology does allow more monitoring from parents — whether it’s in watching how they surf or limiting how they can use technology. What happens is that concerned parents start letting the technology stand in for good parenting. Perhaps nothing has contributed more to this issue than the mobile phone. In some cases, this means parents using those phones to constantly monitor kids — often making those kids more resentful rather than safe. However, the more common, but perhaps more worrisome, issue is how parents and kids may start using the mobile phone as a crutch. We’ve written for years about concerns that constant mobile phone contact between parents and children make it difficult to cut the apron strings. None of this is easy, of course. It’s difficult to learn how to let go — and that’s driving a big battle in New York City over whether mobile phones should be allowed in schools. Teachers are afraid they’re distracting, kids feel the ban is unfair and many parents are worried about not being able to stay in touch. However, CSMonitor has one of the more rational and reasonable takes on the whole situation, noting that banning mobile phones in schools is pointless and impossible. However, the much more important issue is that parents need to learn how to let their children grow up without feeling the need to stay in constant contact.