‘Technology connects us.” It’s a common refrain, perhaps explored most famously in Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, and it is clearly true in many instances. Yet, while technology brings us closer, it also splits us apart in ways we often barely realize. Nowhere is this clearer than in relationships between parents and their kids.
If you have ever watched That 70s Show, you know how technology has completely altered parents’ reality. Back when, parents did not always know what their kids were doing, a fact hilariously parodied in the show, but they interacted with them on a consistent, connected basis. The kids were often at home, they spoke over the dinner table, they hung out in the basement…and the parents were largely aware of their kids and connected to their existence in a very real, personal way.
TV shows display arch-types, not reality – but clearly the technology age has turned that on its head. Smartphones may bring us closer than we have ever been to our relatives on other continents – face to face on skype and ‘just a click away’ – but they have driven us equally far away from those who actually populate our daily lives. Now, parents and kids may be sitting in the same room and ‘interacting’ but entirely missing one another – the kid busy on his phone or Xbox, the parent pecking away at their laptop; both apparently unaware that this sham of an interaction is exactly representative of the problem technology is rapidly creating in our society.
The question now is: how do we fix it?
There are many answers. No answer is complete but, if you take more than one approach, it is easier to find success. Combining communication with a technology enforcement tool, like MMGuardian Parental Control, can help regulate your children’s technology use and prevent a disconnect between you and your kids.