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January 30, 2020 2 min read

By Jesmar Arevalo

We are living in an age where technology has changed the way we communicate, learn and relate to each other. Those who have lived before social media can approach this subject differently. Science has indeed helped us to break through physical barriers. We can talk to anyone anywhere, but there is also another reality to consider.

Perhaps you remember the days when people needed to be face to face to begin a relationship. You needed to be in the same place to meet someone. And not until after several get-togethers would you become comfortable enough to call them on the telephone.

If you were at a family gathering or enjoying a meal together, it was the appropriate time to talk and catch up. It might sound incredible to kids these days but if someone was in another room there was no texting. You had to get up and walk to them to carry on a conversation. While you’re reading this, it might sound weird to even think about it, but let’s take a moment to analyze the situation.

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Everything has indeed happened really fast since the Internet came into our lives. For today’s children there is no world without the Internet. And even less of one without social media. Although there are parents that may use today’s phones as a nanny, it is questionable the influence this may have on younger children as they grow.

This is something that has affected the ability of some kids to develop lasting relationships with real people. When they get access to their own smart phones, they get involved in a big unlimited world of information and people. For this reason, they need to learn how to manage this experience in a healthy manner.

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In social media, people feel brave and fearless. It is normal to feel protective, and you can express yourself, say whatever you want because you don’t have to confront people face to face. It is great to be able to meet new people, know about different cultures, but you still have to be able to relate to those in front of you, those who are real.

How Should Parents Guide Their Children?

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As parents, we must know all the risks and try to make sure we protect our children, but at the same time teach them how to deal with the negative things that confront them.

It is right to control your kids' first access to a smart phone, and maybe at first allow its use just when necessary. As you see how your kids adapt, you can gradually let them increase their use for entertainment.

You can also set some basic rules that should apply to everybody, like not to use the cell phone during family meetings or meals. It sounds extreme, but how many times have you been in a meeting, and everybody is just looking at their phones? So let’s teach our kids to have a healthy relationship with technology and their first cell phone.

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