Technology: An Agent in Child Neglect?

Parenting Hub

Hanna Da’Mes, Staff Writer |

With the innovation and development of devices, we have become, in many cases, dependent on the practicality of technology in our everyday lives.

Every year, children are being exposed to technology at progressively earlier ages.

Technology can be very convenient for parents in many ways, whether it be aiding in the education of their children, or occupying them in times of stress or productivity.

I strive to determine when using technology isn’t healthy or constructive, and when the abuse of devices in childcare becomes a form of neglect.

Are we normalizing parental neglect through technology? If so, it seems to parallel the lack of attention parents give their children as they use technology to make children more complacent.

Children are spending countless hours in front of screens, whether it be televisions, video game systems, tablets, or phones.

Some parents implement rules that limit their children’s time on devices.

On the other hand, there are many parents who perhaps do not realize the detrimental effects of too much time spent on such devices.

This isn’t to say that all of these uninformed parents are neglectful of their children, but it does say something about their level of concern regarding specific aspects of their child’s life.

Screen time takes away from time that a child could spend doing homework or reading, playing outside, and interacting with other children: all productive elements that are essential to a child’s development and wellbeing.

These elements aid in fine motor skills as well as social competence.

When parents use technological devices to placate an upset child is when it becomes a serious problem. The lack of discipline that I have personally witnessed results in bad behavior and the absence of respect for authority.

All children, no matter what age, need a magnitude of attention from their parents, or else they will act out negatively in order to get that attention.

If children lash out because their parents don’t give them proper care, and then those parents attempt to make them “happy” with the use of a device, parents are simply neglecting to be attentive.

According to Chris Rowan’s article, “The Impact of Technology on Child Sensory and Motor Development,” children’s use of technology in the household “is not only gravely affecting early attachment formation, but also [has] a negative impact on child psychological and behavioral health.”

Technology is used as an easy way to pacify a child. Especially for young children, this can backfire.

If a child is given a device to play games on when they are crying or whining, they quickly understand that bad behavior will result in what they perceive as a positive outcome.

When technology is used to simply give children something mindless to do (so that parents don’t have to interact with them), they are not receiving the level of care necessary for healthy development, which results in a weak relationship with their parents.

Technology should not be used as a way to manage a child, and especially not as a substitute for attentive conversations, discipline, and care.

This reduction of communication between parents and their children is detrimental to both relationship between them but also the relationship between the child and their future children.

People practice what they know; they will raise their children how they were raised. It’s not like any one individual can define good parenting.

However, if parents do not see these examples as a form of neglect, how will they ever learn to do better? Similar to so many other social issues, the solution is not simple.

The use of technology is now ingrained into our society, and we need to learn how to change the root of the problem. These roots typically refer to a person’s childhood and upbringing, when our brain and sense of self develops.

Who has more influence on us than our parents? Technology cannot be what raises our children, we must take full responsibility.

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