A few days ago, I met with Dr. Brandi Eijsermans, an international developmental psychologist, who will be answering monthly on Mums in Heels any questions you might have as a parent about connectedness, dialogue, and emotional development. We decided to create a rubric for parenting support, because, if you are like me, there are a lot of questions and doubts you wish you were able to ask a psychologist about finding help to deal with certain situations: bullying, insecurity, self-confidence, betrayal, loss of trust, etc.
Today, however, I want to talk about how technology affects our children’s development and behavior. During our talk Dr. Eijsermans said something that stuck with me: we can’t teach our children what we can’t model!
Later that night on the way home I started thinking of the examples I set for my children while trying to teach them the complete opposite:
- Watching TV late at night
- Eating chocolate in bed after dinner
- Taking my phone and computer to bed
By the way, I have a pretty good explanation for all of that, but, when I think from the perspective of my kids, I now realise I am sending them confusing messages.
In a recent article I came upon in NestMaven.com, I read that “children start to be interested in electronic devices and technology because they see adults using them. They see how much attention we give them, which shows them that they must be something interesting to pay attention to.
An overstimulated, under-rested child can be a bit of a nightmare for parents. They have no patience, no attention span and have trouble controlling their emotions…”
The question of technology and children is a complicated one and I am not an expert but, as responsible parents, I think all of us have to know the effects of technology on our kids, and more importantly learn how to distract our kids from excessive use of video games and computers.
At home, for example, we always try to find alternatives to technology. After dinner the whole family will sit and play snakes and ladders or Uno together. My son is now learning the Cyrillic alphabet and he enjoys coming up with words we should guess after he announces only the first letter.
I know that oftentimes being tired after a long day at work doesn’t help much in such situations, but in fact it is also a better way for us parents to relax than watching TV or getting back on our phones.
If you want to learn more about how technology affects our children and what we can do about it, read more here