Do Parents Influence Kids’ Media Use?
Do you think your media use affects your kids’ ideas and attitudes about their own use?
Are you the kind-of person who needs data to believe an idea is true?
Well, read on. This post from Amy Williams, journalist and concerned parent who loves spreading the word on digital safety is full of important thoughts on us, parents… our media use… and it’s affect on our kids’ own media use.
“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.”
As parents, that simple quote from W.E.B. DuBois can speak volumes to us. After all, it’s no secret that we are our sons’ and daughters’ first teachers. We lead by example and model the skills they need to learn to grow from the time they are born until they leave our nests. We teach them eye contact, how to communicate, how to tie their shoes, manage money, cross the street, be leary of strangers, and more. The list goes on and on, because we never stop teaching our kids.
This is primarily due to the fact that they are always watching, listening, and following our lead. As parents, we are well aware of this concept when our children are young. We carefully watch our language, label our feelings, and strive to give our kids the social skills needed to succeed beyond the preschool playground. However, as our little ones age and become more independent, we often forget that our kids are learning from our behaviors and actions.
This is especially evident when we consider the impact our social media and technology use is having on our sons and daughters. A recent observational study hailing from the Boston Medical Center found that 70 percent of the parents involved used cell phones during a family meal which caused distracted parenting. A shocking 54 percent of the kids thought parents check their devices too often and 34 percent of children admit feeling unimportant when it came to our technology use.
Many of us know that we should limit our kids’ screen time, but monitoring our own media consumption is a new concept we often overlook. It’s tempting to answer those work emails or send out that quick text, but in a roundabout way our media use is starting to impact our sons and daughters in some surprising areas. Our love of technology and the instant access to media can be fuelling narcissistic behaviors, FOMO (fear of missing out), feelings of insecurity, and bad social media etiquette in our kids.
Too much distraction on our end is causing our kids to miss out on valuable face-to-face conversations and interactions with us. Even though DuBois didn’t see the advent of today’s technology and the influx of social media, he was well aware of the role parents play in the life of a child. For the sake of our boys and girls, we need to challenge ourselves to make sure we are providing the best examples to our kids of all ages when it comes to media and technology use.
For more information about how parents can influence our children’s media and technology use, check out following infographic from the creators of TeenSafe below (or click here):