I appeared on the Today show to discuss the impact that technology has on kids’ lives. The guest’s son, who usually sends 14,000 texts a month, stopped using all technology for 10 days. His focus on his schoolwork improved and his relationship with his family changed for the better. The mom said that she finally had some idea of what was going on in his life and even got to meet some of his friends. When asked if she was going to make him stop texting when they got back home, she said that she would leave it to him to monitor himself! Well, he obviously wasn’t monitoring himself before now. I’m sure he was impacted by the ten days, but sometimes our kids still need our help to do the right thing.
Dr. Michelle on the Today Show discussing kids and technology
Listen folks, as parents, you set the tone and the example for your kids behavior. You tell them what to do, they don’t tell you what they’re going to do. When it comes to technology I think that:
1. Parents should limit the amount of time their kids spend using technology, and
2. There should be technology free family time.
Parents…you do not have to allow your kids to spend as much time as they would like using technology. As parents, you have every right to manage the amount of time your kids spend talking on cell phones, texting, using the internet and playing video games.
You don’t want the internet raising your kids, so you have to spend some time with them yourself so that they learn about what is important from you. You should use the ratings on movies and video games to help you select content that is age-appropriate for your child and you should use parental controls on the internet to prevent them from stumbling upon inappropriate content.
There should also be times in your child’s life when they have to put their gadgets away. That can be during the same time every day like during their homework or dinner, or it can be during special outings with the family. Your kids should learn when it is and isn’t appropriate to use their gadgets. It’s rude to be texting during certain times or events, so make sure you teach them what’s right.
All I’m saying is that kids will tell you that “Everyone else is doing it” and you have to tell them like my great-grandmother told me: We’ll you’re not everyone else! LOL—I miss her mother-wit!