While I talk, put your phone down. It’s forbidden to text while driving. Stop oversharing on social networks. You can learn to balance technology and other activities. Notifications prevent you and your family from being together.
This sounds like a typical parent speaking to a teenager in 2023.
It’s actually not. It is an example of some rules children believe their parents should adhere to. This was in 2016.
The University of Washington, and the University of Michigan, studied children aged 10-17 in 2016. Researchers asked a simple question. Researchers asked a simple question: What phone rules would you like your parents to follow?
When we look at how technology affects families, it is important to note what children see about the use of their phones. According to a 2016 study, children had several rules about their parents.
1. Be present Children feel that technology should not be used in certain situations. This includes when a child is trying talk to a parent.
2. Moderate usage Parents should balance technology with other activities in moderation.
3. Supervise children. Technology-related rules should be enforced by parents for the protection of their children.
4. While driving, you must not use your phone. Even at red lights.
5. There is no hypocrisy. Parents need to practice what they preach. For example, parents should not use their smartphones at mealtimes.
6. There is no oversharing. Parents should not share online information about their children without their consent.
These children in 2016 sound exactly like their parents today. Recent studies support similar findings. Parents’ technology use is a concern for children.
(Is there anyone else experiencing a Twilight Zone moment?)
This shouldn’t surprise us in a way. These key milestones are important in the development of smartphone adoption in America.
› 2005: Samsung smartphones launch with Google’s Android operating software.
› 2007: Apple iPhone is now available.
› 2008: The Facebook app now works on smartphones. Mobile social media is here! Soon, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter will be available.
› 2010-2016: Adult smartphone adoption rose from 23% up to more than 80%.
The first users of expensive smartphones were not children and weren’t teens. These were adult children being watched by their kids.
According to a 2016 study, these young adults grew up using smartphones to compete for their attention. Parents are complaining about their children competing with their phones for attention.
95% of teens had a smartphone in their homes by 2022. More than 50% of teenagers had a smartphone by the age 11 They used at least two social media apps by the age of 12. These children aren’t yet fully grown adults, which is the big difference to 2016. These are children whose brains are still developing. 11- and 12-year-olds have not yet developed their social skills. Teens are still learning impulse control. Teenagers have not yet learned to manage their emotions. Their sense of self is only beginning to emerge.
We’ve let go of the genie and are now rightfully worried about what we see.
Pew Research Group asked 2021 if parenting today is more difficult than it was 20 year ago.
› 66% of parents said parenting was harder. Technology was the top reason.
(Actually seven of the top twelve reasons were technology-related.
› 7% said parenting was easier. Surprisingly, the top reason for this was technology.
(With four out of the top seven technology-related reasons.
How can technology combine both? It could depend on how you model it for your children. The behavior you desire to model is what you should be modeling.
Do you feel brave? Allow your child to talk freely with you. Ask your child: “What rules would I need to follow regarding my phone use?” It will ignite a rich discussion.
Lauren Hall is the president and CEO at First Things First, a family advocacy organization. Email her at [email protected].
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