Not too long ago we touched on the perks of living in such a technological age. Easy access to information, flexibility in work, connection to family, friends, and like-minded online buddies are just a few perks.
But, as with most good things, sometimes good things can be bad. Being under the influence of technology can bring out some ugly behavior and negative effects on ourselves and those around us. So if you catch yourself thinking you may be not just using but also abusing, consider the following concerns.
Access. We have so much access to junk. Think of those viral stories whose spread is as dramatic as the content in them. Whether those stories just pull at heartstrings and lightly sprinkle some paranoia on us or the articles, posts, and videos hit real-deal triggers that release a flood of anguish, having so much access at our fingertips can play with our psychological well-being. Mommy wars and bullying thrive on access which we have plenty of with technology these days.
Wasted time. Sure, it is great to relax. Sometimes a couple hours of binge-watching your favorite show can soothe the soul. But when it is happening night after night as your to-do list grows and grows, technology moves from friend to foe.
Spirit and drive. I went through a phase of the doldrums that was not aided by tech. Speaking of wasted time, the more evenings I spent relaxing after a hard day the more I found myself lacking in the energy to tackle the projects I really was excited about. And as those projects continued to fall to the wayside, the more lost I felt—who was I anymore? I just mommed all day and tried to recover all evening. I stayed up too late, put my hobbies to the side, and vegged out on Facebook games and mindless online group scrolling. My spirit took a hit and it took some effort to dig myself out of that mommy rut. Sometimes we need a day—or even a few—where we check out, but technology sure makes it easy to lose ourselves.
The Dark Side. Nope, I’m not referring to the latest sci-fi flicks here. I’m talking about the dark side that lives in us all, the self-righteous, jealous, smug, or apathetic versions of ourselves. Technology makes it all the easier for us to exhibit those less-than-appealing behaviors and we often are the brunt of someone else’s dark side if we linger on social media too long.
The effect it has on your children. I can look up when my children ask me to see what they are doing. Sometimes it is important for my children to recognize I have more in my day then just watching, answering, helping, and providing for them. But being absorbed in technology, whether email or social media or trying to capture that perfect moment on film, can impact my parenting, my child. Screen time may affect my child’s ability to read emotion and I am more likely to snap or respond harshly while under the influence of technology.
The other effect it has on your children. As frustrating as it is to get that “picture perfect” family photo sometimes, I’d prefer that over my child knowing how to hold a handful of different poses just perfect. I wonder the effect of all this technology when I hear a little boy ask how many likes his picture got or an adolescent girl say she really needs a filter to make her picture look better. We as adults know that Pinterest envy is a real struggle sometimes, and social media is showing up in research as a contributor to children’s insecurities.
The other other effect it has on your children. Social media can have lasting impact on our children, especially when it comes to “sharenting” and our children on social media. Your timeline history may become theirs one day. Once your kiddos hit the age of having their own Facebook account, depending on security settings, their friends may gain access to, say, baby’s first poop, voyeuristic photos of your 7-year old still holding a lovey or sucking his thumb, and so on. Think of that throw-back photo you want put up on your teenager’s birthday or when Facebook tells you “7 years ago,…” Even if privacy settings don’t allow it, your adult friends have seen those photos. What used to just be grandparents knowing about our highest highs and lowest lows, now any of our acquaintances have access to our children’s lives in a way that blurs privacy. Think for a moment about all those viral videos you see or even share. Aside from cute animals and outlandish adults, the other viral video most often involves the child. Even if you’re sharing life “as it is” and not how you want it to be--- children’s privacy, separate from their parent, is blurred in a potentially harmful way.
Lynette is a mom of three children from one year to age five. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.