In his forthcoming book, Raising Generation Tech, the internationally renowned parenting and media expert Dr. Jim Taylor explores the importance of raising tech-savvy children amidst the negative influences of popular culture and technology.
The essential message from Raising Generation Tech is that excessive or unguided exposure to popular culture and technology is not good for children. Rather than offering the usual ‘end of days’ scenario, Dr. Taylor offers a balanced perspective that provides parents with the insights and practical information they need to ensure that popular culture and technology are tools that benefit their children rather than weapons that hurt them.
Dr. Taylor explores the benefits and risks of growing up online, and discusses important topics for parents such as:
- Internet addiction – Children today spend an average of more than 7 ½ hours a day in front of a screen (not including school-related activities). Research indicates that Internet addiction has similar neurophysiological effects as do addictions to drugs, alcohol, and gambling.
- Facebook depression – A growing number of children experience feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and depression when they compare their number of “friends,” photos, and status messages with their peers.
- Parents Must Learn Technology– When it comes to social media children are often the experts. Parents must actively learn how to use social media and understand the messages it sends children. This helps parents assume the role of teacher, rather than being left out of the equation all together.
- Teach Kids to be Healthy Skeptics- Children should be critical thinkers who don’t accept popular culture and technology at face value. Parents can teach children to become healthy skeptics by discussing social media and pop culture with them. This discussion will help children understand the difference between positive and negative messages and allow them to make healthy choices.
- Be a Technology Role Model- If parents spend a lot of time reading celebrity magazines, watching Reality TV, or playing video games, their children will also. Parents must reflect on their own relationship with popular culture and technology and decide if it is benefitting or harming their children, then become role models to promote a healthy relationship with both.