Seems everyone’s getting a little angsty about tech and kids these days. Even Mashable recently asked the question: Parent’s Dilemma: Are You Raising Tech-Addicted Kids?
In the article, the point is raised that the Kindle Fire you broke down and finally bought for your pleading teen in the hopes that he or she would read more books may well end up being a source of a burgeoning gaming addiction instead. Although… we can’t help wondering if said parents haven’t been slightly hoodwinked by their more technology-aware offspring once again: settling for the less sexy but more exclusively bookish Kindle 3G or the newer Paperwhite 3G might have made more sense.
The thing is, extreme stories like the 18 year old who died after playing 40 straight hours of Diablo 3 may be outliers, but closer to home are the seemingly endless anecdotal stories of kids becoming addicted to playing Angry Birds or Minecraft on their various smart phones and tablets.
So what do parents do?
Well, as we’ve emphasized many times before: balance. As Rebecca Levey points out, in the linked article:
“Like most aspects of parenting, balance is key. Technology is an incredibly positive part of our lives, and our kids should be able to create and use it to their benefit.[…] they will need to conduct research, write papers and, if their school is moving into the 21st century, they’ll most likely have classroom blogs, assignments and school communication online as well. […] Just as adults have a difficult time shutting off the email when they get home — kids will need rules to merge their “work” and home lives with technology.”
All good points. Anyway, read the article. And as for what not to do as a parent, especially when it comes to Facebook, Mashable (again!) have come up with another timely list—The Top 5 Things Parents Should Never Do on Facebook—of the type they seem to excel in lately.
We’ll outline the rules quickly here. Remember, these are the do nots:
- 1. Forbid Your Kids From Joining Facebook
First, they will do it anyway. And second, you’re possibly condemning them to a degree of social isolation that might even see them actively harassed by other kids.
- 2. Embarrass Your Kids
Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating after some high profile parent antics in recent months whereby laptops were shot and children’s profile photos were altered in humiliating ways. Please don’t do this unless you want to erode your child’s respect and trust for you.
- 3. Make Their Friends Your Friends
The impulse is understandable. You can keep tabs and be that “cool” mom or dad, too, perhaps. Except, no. Just no. It will pretty much only be seen as creepy by your kid’s friends.
- 4. Bring the Hammer Down
Ouch. Read the story in the liked article. Kudos for the writer for admitting that faux pas… and for his self-effacing sense of humour. But you’ve been warned, so don’t follow suit.
- 5. Forget That Facebook is a Gateway Drug
Interesting one, this. The gist is that, no matter how unnerved you are about your kids being on Facebook, the prospect of them being driven by over-concerned parenting toward the darker and less regulated reaches of the Web is a very real one and almost certainly more murky and scary in some instances. A teen getting rowdy on Facebook is one thing. Now go check out 4Chan and see how much worse it might potentially be.