Opinion: Cell Phones and Parenting

Child Vs. Parent – by Felina Silver RobinsonFelina 06-28-98

I just finished reading an article that I’m posting on my Native American Corner today entitled “Notes From A Single Mom: Texting Is the New Parenting“. Yesterday I shared a story via my blog entitled “App Stops kids from ignoring mom’s calls, texts“. Believe it or not, a mother developed the App so that her children would stop ignoring her attempts to reach them.

It should be no surprise to anyone that children and society, myself included, have come to feel more comfortable dealing with technology over contact with people. Of course there still times we all prefer speaking to a live person, like when we need customer service, but end up on perpetual hold then get someone that doesn’t speak english.  There are other times we are most likely not to get it. Companies intentionally automate parts of service where a live person is most needed. This is truly uncalled for and quite frustrating, but it is just the way things have come to be these days. It’s thought to be more efficient even if and when it’s not.

Getting back to parenting via cell phones. As of a study conducted by Pew Research Center in March of 2013, 78% of kids ages 12-17 have cell phones. It only makes sense then that texting, emails, or any of the chat applications now available would be the preferred way that children of today wish to communicate with their parents. In fact, I’m certain that some parents are just as happy to avoid the sassy facial expressions that seem to come with the majority of today’s teens.

Unfortunately, as times change, people change with it. No matter what we teach our children peer pressure often wins out on how the majority of them will behave. Most often, you will still have your child that is good at heart and will choose not to do drugs, won’t drink and won’t steal. But when it comes to communicating, they’re going to choose to do it via their cell phone. The only problem is, getting them to answer when you need them to. Just like everything else in your relationship with your child, you have to set ground rules. If they don’t listen, you just take it away. On many of the phones, you don’t even need to physically take the phone away to block their ability to use it. Each provider is different so you may want to check directly with your provider.

The important thing to remember is that no piece of electronics can replace the actual relationship you choose to have with your child. Personally, there are things that I definitely won’t say on a cell phone that I just have to say face to face. But there are also things that I will say face to face that I will reiterate via cell phone so my child can see it wherever they are and when they want or need to see it. Technology can’t replace you, you can however “let” technology replace you for moments at a time.  It’s a choice, and it’s your’s to make. You can’t blame the providers. Like anything else out there that the consumers buy, we all choose when and how things will be used.  When and if we don’t want to use them, we don’t have to.

You will always be the parent. A cell phone is just another way that can “help” you deliver the messages you need your children to hear or see.

Enjoy raising your children your way!

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