I have talked about the advantages of modern day electronic gadgets and their roles in family dynamics, so today let’s explore their roles in your children’s lives.

When I was running teenage workshops a few years ago, some parents mentioned their frustrations that their children were out of control in front of the computer, over spending on their mobile phone calls, too absorbed in front of their computers, tablets, smartphones or their play stations etc.

Parents and children argued more frequently because the parents tried to set boundaries, and so temper tantrums were more frequent, yelling matches and door slamming were not unheard of…I even had parents asking whether I ran workshops for teenagers on how to control their time in front of the screens.

Before I go any further, I have several questions to ask you.

Please think about:

– Do the modern day electronic gadgets impact on your connections with your children? If so, how?

– Do they affect your discipline in your family dynamics and make you feel powerless in controlling your children?

– Do you see the modern day electronics as friends or foes?

Have a think about it, write it down with your pen and paper, journal it, talk to yourself, talk to your friends, your spouse or close relatives … whatever works for you. Seriously, I need you to think about: are new technologies such as tablets, smart phones etc becoming friends or foes when it comes to connecting and disciplining your children?

Personally, I am not against any new technology or even junk food. I personally believe in moderation in everything in life.

So if you have a situation at home where you are frustrated about the electronic usage in your home and the lack of connections with your children, what are you doing about it? How are you going to overcome the situation?

Below are some important points to think about:

– To what extent would you allow your children to roam the social media platform with the new technologies? i.e. which app are they allow to download, to  which social media are you comfortable for your 7 year old to sign up? How are you monitoring your young children’s actions? Where would the computer or tablet be situated? Lounge room, kitchen or in the kids’ own bedroom?

– Do you have any say over how much screen time your children have each day? i.e. before or after homework/dinner? If so, for how long?

– What are you worrying about when your children are online or playing their electronic gadgets? How do you feel when your children are online or playing their electronic gadgets? i.e. Have you had the “talk” about cyber bullying? Do you know anything about cyber bullying? Are your children aware what information they are allowed to share and what not to share? Do they know that they can come to see you if any strangers are trying to connect and communicate with them? Do you know who their friends are?

– What would be your ideal situation with electronic gadgets usage in your home with regards to your children and disciplining? Are you able to have a family discussion, share your concerns and worries with your family and get them to help you draw up a plan. Plan when your children can have time to be online, who their online friends are… It does not matter what you’ve discussed, as long as it is a plan that is agreed by everyone in the family and you are happy to implement.

You see, electronic gadgets are just another means / thing to bring some ease and efficiency in our homes and lives, and allowing people to connect more easily.

However, like anything else, it has the potential to be a distraction or an addiction if you allow it to be. You have a choice to make the object work for your benefit, a tool for your children to learn/research and a tool for you to browse for information, enjoy ebooks and watch movies, and so much more.

Have a fantastic time connecting with your family.