On one hand we have parents willing to shell out big bucks to get their kids into name brand schools. And on the other hand, parents who give their children unfettered access to technology and expect them to figure their lives out for themselves. Both extremes create unhealthy children – both emotionally and eventually, physically.
Somewhere in the middle is the child who is guided along, learning how to take responsibility for herself through a series of life lessons that don’t have life-altering consequences. Failing is part of life. Failing small is part of learning and growing. Taking away that journey, or sheltering it too much, inhibits the journey and with it, the ability to find happiness. Allowing children free range opens doors to all kinds of experiences that are traumatic and life altering in very negative ways.
How do we find balance in the digital age?
Control seems to be a bad word in parenting circles. To control a child is to inhibit their creativity and self-discovery. We shouldn’t try to exercise authority over our kids, but rather control some of the environment they are exposed to. Part of our job as parents is to protect our children. We talk to them about underage drinking, cheating on tests, and safe sex – all done at the appropriate age. We try to do the same online, providing age-appropriate guards on their phones and computers.
The problem is, our kids are more tech savvy than we are. And they have friends.
We don’t want to sequester them away from the digital world, but we can get better at controlling what they see and what we decide is not appropriate for them to see. That’s what ClearPHONE does. But it’s only half the solution. Keeping trackers and porn off your kids’ phones is only a beginning. What they really need is a lot of one-on-one time with us, the ones they trust to give guidance, even if they resist it.
Our children need to know how we feel about bullying, sexting, pornography, underage drinking. Our job is to teach them the ethics and values that will keep them from making the deep mistakes. A phone that gives parents control over the most dangerous stuff is just a tool.
We have to remember that our kids are finding their way, developing their own set of rules. Failure helps: not making the basketball team or getting a lower grade in science, or even being left out of a friend group. That’s life. That’s learning. But being exposed to violent porn at age 12 can be so traumatic it causes emotional challenges for years.
Yes, we need the right tools today. But no technology can replace a good parent. Now more than ever, our children need us.