It’s The “Little” Things That Matter: Technology and Children


By Rhonda Nemri

I am no parent, but do hope to be one someday. Therefore the statements I am about to say are in no shape or form based on personal parenting, but more so the observations of parents and children that I encounter from time to time. I’m not a child psychologist or pediatrician, but I have a fair amount of common sense. I grew up with four other siblings, and had opportunities to help my mother watch over my three younger sisters. I wasn’t even good at it, but I had to keep an “eye” on them. I have taken babysitting opportunities for some of my cousin’s children. The fact that I was even trusted with no children of my own, is an honor. The techniques and style of parenting has changed over the years. You have the hovering parents, and then you have the parents that are at ease with difficult situations. But what has been lingering in my brain for some time are the parents that are not using common sense. But what does it even mean today to have common sense? I believe that saying has changed a bit. I am taking into account the perspective of how I was raised and how other family members were raised. Also just things that are clearly obvious of what to do.

The most irritating thing happening right now is the carelessness of parenting. I do understand that some parents may not have the means to support their children and give them what they want. Possibly they never learned the simple things of what to do. However, I speak about the parents who utilize technology on a daily basis, causing them to disconnect from their child on an emotional and physical level. I have spent most of my undergraduate and graduate studies studying the way humans communicate and the effects of technology. So why not apply this to children as well? I am positive there are countless research studies on this problem, but I would like to take it in the perspective of observer, and share my thoughts. Adults are not the only ones communicating. We take a huge responsibility of teaching our children how to speak properly. Handing an infant a phone or an iPad should not, and I repeat should NOT be your last resort to get your child to listen to you. There is something called discipline and consequences. The amount of “educational” shows out there is infesting our children’s mind in this repetitive motion, and inadequately gives them the opportunity to really look at you and learn to speak to you. I must admit that Barney and friends was one of my favorites to watch, but I had limitations. Parenting has become boxed into the idea of carelessness and laziness. Food options have become chicken nuggets and fries. Bedtime is not in an actual bed. Play time is using a phone to play a game. I’m really scared for our future. This does not mean you don’t love your child, but it just means that you’re not paying attention. We have to be attentive as individuals and help our children grow into respectable and knowledgeable human beings. I give credit to the parents who work all day and still manage to make it home and spend time with their children. Being a parent has to be the most selfless thing. Your child comes first! Not you! You can still take care of yourself, but your child is YOUR priority. From the food they eat, to the shows they watch. No one is asking you to suffocate them, but you must be 10, even 20 steps ahead of them. Or else you’ll end up with the disobedient child, or the aggressive child that won’t sit down and just listen.

“Technology changes the way kids socialize and interact with others, which can have huge impacts on their mental and emotional well-being. It has now become common knowledge that high levels of social media use, in both kids and adults, can lower self-esteem and create negative moods. However, all types of technology can actually have negative effects on children when used in excess, because they lower children’s frequency of interacting with their peers. This makes it more difficult for them to pick up on social cues and develop meaningful relationships with others — something that can have serious negative consequences as they grow and develop. They also have a difficult time developing emotions the same way other kids would if they spend too much of their time with technology and not enough time being engaged while in the presence of others” (Dhruvin Patel, 2017).

As adults we are always on our phones, from checking Facebook posts and snap chat stories. We are constantly feeling we have to be connected with everyone. You can take a thousand great pictures a day, but that picture does not give the full story. If adults are constantly on their phones and not communicating, then why would a child want to do anything else but be on a phone? I see children with newer phones, and toys that are meaningless. What happened to the old school flash cards to learn ABC’s and 123’s. We do have to adapt to change, and change is apparent. However, not when it is brainwashing yours and your child’s mind. This is in no way discrediting parents who do what they are supposed to do, or utilize technology. But as I stated, there has to be limitations and rules. Parents should be a team, and have each other’s backs. If this is something that is lacking, then there will always be a dysfunction in the family. It is not about who is right, it is about what is right for your child.

So do yourself a favor, and as parents or future parents give your child what you would give yourself. If you don’t care for your child then you don’t care for yourself, and vice versa. Let’s not get sucked into technology and use it as a backup plan to get your child to focus. What’s making them lose focus is that phone that you carry in your hands all day long. So of course they want a piece of it too. I have a baby niece, and she means the world to me. I would absolutely hate if anything happened to her. Perhaps she is the reason why I have come to discuss such a topic, because for once in my life I have taken a role as “caretaker”, and helping out in ways I never thought I would. I am just an auntie right now, and I can give my niece back to her parents at any time. I don’t have the full-time experience of having children, but most of this is “Common Sense”. If you have spent most of your single and child-free life pampering yourself, you can do the same for that cute little bundle of joy that you call your own.  Get your children off Instagram and Snap Chat, and give them more than just a screen spewing things that are not always beneficial. If my mother did it without phones and technology, so can you!


Concerned Childless Auntie