So you relented and bought your kid a new X-Box for the holidays. Or iPhone. Or Tablet. Or whatever. Welcome to the club. But that moment of your child’s joy may slowly be giving way to your guilt as a parent: The gift of screen time?
In a great new article, however, education and technology journalist Lisa Guernsey argues that while feeling tech shame over gifts purchased may be a common enough reaction for us parents, we don’t necessarily need to have new-gadget hangover. Instead, Guernsey argues parents should focus less on if devices are on or off and more on what exactly their kids are doing online. In fact, research has shown that the kids who have the least incidence of online behavior problems were those whose parents were not “limiters” or “enablers” when it came to technology, but instead took on a role as “mentors.”
Mentors? Yep. That means not only modeling good digital behavior yourself, but also connecting with your kids’ digital lives. In this NY Times article, KJ Dell’Antonia highlights research revealing that families who co-play video games have higher levels of family connection. And it’s not just when they’re little: Other research shows that tech-savvy parents are more connected with their adult children. Research from the University of Kansas looked at relationship satisfaction between emerging adults and their parents and found that the quality of the bond increases with the number of communication tools each party is willing to use.
Read more about how you should shed the tech shame here.