- Have a direct conversation with your kids about technology. Ask them questions about what they think about what they’re viewing online and how it’s affecting their lives. Keep an open mind and remain judgment-free — we want our kids to share their thoughts instead of shutting down.
Let’s face it: As parents, we’re in way over our heads when it comes to technology and how to help our kids navigate it in a healthy way. Heck, we’re all trying to learn how to set some personal boundaries with technology for ourselves — how many nights this week did you spend aimlessly scrolling instead of getting to bed on time?
When we were our kids’ age, we didn’t have nearly as much access to technology — we had Super Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog on our Sega Game Gear, and if we were lucky, our parents would take us to our friend’s house if they achieved a higher level while playing the game. Now, there’s so much more to contend with: Our kids have the internet (cue ominous music). There’s so much they’re able to access right at their fingertips and if you think about it too long, it’s a little scary.
This is why today’s conversation is so important because there is so much at stake. According to research, technology is both speeding up our kids’ development while simultaneously slowing it down. Our kids are spending more time on websites and apps designed for adults, thus getting exposed to things way beyond their years, yet at the same time, are developing slower socially — because they’re so plugged in, they’re not learning social skills as fast.
First, we hear from Kara Powell, executive director of Fuller Youth Institute. A mother of three, Kara talks about how our kids are wrestling with three big questions: Who am I? Where do I fit? And what difference do I make? Answers to these questions are often shaped by technology and she discusses why boundaries with technology are important to establish with your family.
Next, we hear wisdom from Jelani Memory, CCO and co-founder of Circle Media, Inc., the company behind Circle with Disney, a device that helps parents enforce rules and restrictions on technology in their homes. Jelani, a father of six, helped create the device with his kids in mind — he wanted his kids to be able to get the most out of technology rather than getting the worst from it. He shares his ideas behind the concept and some common concerns parents have when it comes to their kids and technology.
Finally, we hear from speaker and entrepreneur, Matt McKee. A father of two, Matt challenges our way of thinking about technology: Instead of solely viewing technology as something to battle over with our kids, how about we see it as a means to help our kids express their creativity? Matt shares what it looks like to have a healthy relationship with technology and ways to approach a technology conversation with your kids at every phase.
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