“We have to learn to live with [technology] in a healthy way, according to our human values. And our human values are not to put our kids fifth, after texts, e-mail, Twitter, and everything else”
I’ve done it. You’ve probably done it too. That is, you’ve probably sent an email on your smartphone, checked Facebook or sent a text, all while in the presence of your children. Sometimes it seems impossible to avoid the constant connectivity that life in this century demands. But is this need to connect affecting our connection to our children? An article on January 31, 2011 in the Washington Post, “Parents are Ignoring Their Children for their Blackberry” looks at the effects of technology on parenting and answers this question.
The article focuses on two sources, the first being Dr. Sherry Turkle, a clinical psychologist and MIT professor who has recently published “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other”. Turkle interviewed over 300 young people and 150 adults when researching her book, and found that children felt that their parents paid less attention to them than to their smartphones, especially at mealtime, in the car, during sporting events and even sometimes during bedtime stories. While much of the concern over technology has been children’s use of it, “it’s now children who are complaining about their parents’ habits”, claims Turkle. Instead of asking parents to throw away their devices, Turkle provides a more practical suggestion: “These technologies are with us, but we have to learn to live with them in a healthy way, according to our human values. And our human values are not to put our kids fifth, after texts, e-mail, Twitter, and everything else”.