How Technology Can Harm Your Child

By Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT

Listen to a Podcast with Sharon Scott

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Many parents don’t realize the impact of technology on their children. Video games may improve hand/eye coordination, typing their theme on the computer may be easier than the “old-fashion” typewriter and meeting people from around the world via the computer may be interesting, but this marriage and family counselor is mainly seeing the down-side of technology.

Driving down any street in our country you will see parents taking their children to dinner (the family meal at home has become extinct in many families) or to their extracurricular activities. There is something different going on in the cars though.

Had that been my parents and me, we would have been talking to one another. Now one parent (the driver!) is checking in with the office, the other parent is on the phone making weekend plans and the kids are listening to music on their IPod (or watching TV in the backseat or playing video games).

My concern is that, without a conscious effort, technology can divide and separate families. Kids in my private counseling practice complain to me about their parents spending too much time on the computer or cell phone.

Parents of teens worry about their child spending so much time in their room (why not?’they often have a complete array of entertainment in their bedroom). We tell our children to not talk to strangers and sometimes provide them easy means to do just that on the computer.

Kids desire to be online and, according to television news programs, so do child predators. Kids are sometimes bullying each other on these sites and there was a recent suicide by a youth attributed to hurtful comments made on one such site. Companies are even checking out these sites for inappropriate activity or provocative language or pictures before hiring a prospective employee.

It’s recommended that the computer be in a common area so that you can monitor your child’s activity and don’t hesitate to check out their use. I suggest not putting a TV in your child’s room you will see him more if he has to come into the family room to watch TV.

Don’t drive while talking on the phone. Besides being dangerous, you are role modeling driving behavior that you probably don’t want your child to do when she begins driving. And, if your child has a phone, limit the usage and, should he go over his allotted minutes, take the phone away!

During this next week check out the impact of technology on your family and, if you find it to have a negative effect, make the needed changes.

Copyright © 2018, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author. Excerpted in part from Sharon’s classic parent guide: Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed. (HRD Press, 800-822-2801).

Sharon Scott

Sharon Scott

Sharon is the author of eight award-winning books including four on the topic of peer to peer pressure.

The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.

Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!

A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.

Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.
Sharon Scott
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