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A Mom's Greatest Struggle
in This Tech-Driven World

“They’re always sitting in front of a screen. That’s all they want to do. I’m tired of nagging them to get off. Things are so different than when I was a kid. I wish they would just play or read a book or do something unplugged.”

Sound familiar? Those are the words in my head. And the conversation I have had with many of my friends. And the complaint I read about online. It’s a big issue for us moms, trying to figure out how to guide our kiddos’ media consumption and electronics usage. And to balance the good of technology with the bad.

Living in a tech-driven world is not all evil, so why do we struggle so much with our kids being “plugged in all the time”?

A Mom's Biggest Struggle in a Tech-Driven World | Why do we struggle so much with our kids being “plugged in all the time”? It’s a big issue for us moms, trying to figure out how to guide our kiddos’ media consumption and electronics usage. And to balance the good of technology with the bad.

Well, I have a theory. It’s not anything backed by scientific research or piles of data. It’s just a little thought from my brain…and my heart. My friend, I have concluded that the source of our frustration with our kids’ tech usage is, simply, our ignorance. I'm not saying we are “ignorant” in a negative and derogatory way. It's just that we don't know how to tackle the issue of how much screen time is OK.

What We Don't Have

You see, we don’t have an example from past generations to guide us. Think about it…we can go to any older more experienced mother and ask, “How did you make sure your kids stayed healthy?” Or “What did you do when your child disobeyed?” Or “How did you manage your children’s schedules?”  But, we can’t go to a seasoned mom and ask, “How did you handle your children’s screen time? How did you guide them towards developing healthy tech habits?”

Nor can we look to our childhood experiences for insight. Since the development of the Internet in the 1990s,  things have changed drastically.  And you have to admit that technological advancements have changed a lot of things in our world for the better.

I’m glad that my girls have all the opportunities available in our tech-driven world. I consider how much more they can do than I could as a kid.  I could have never discovered what to do about a sneezing guinea pig. Or edited a photo 50+ ways then shared it with 50+ friends. Or played a word game with my aunt who lives 3000 miles away. Or stayed home from school to learn whatever I want. [Related post: How We Homeschool]

I am a digital immigrant

mothering five digital natives.

“The post-millennial “digital native,” a term coined by U.S. author Marc Prensky in 2001 is emerging as the globe's dominant demographic, while the “digital immigrant,” becomes a relic of a previous time.

The digital native-immigrant concept describes the generational switchover where people are defined by the technological culture which they're familiar with.

Prensky defines digital natives as those born into an innate “new culture” while the digital immigrants are old-world settlers, who have lived in the analogue age and immigrated to the digital world.”

Source: www.cnn.com

We,  have the “privilege” of being the first generation of mothers to raise “digital natives.”

We’re the first generation of moms battling the “too much screen time” war.

We're the first generation with children having access to all the information in the world right in their back pockets.

We're the first generation with children texting and messaging and chatting with “friends” in an instant.

We're the first generation with our own mobile electronic “plugged-in” devices in our homes and cars and purses.

What We Need to Do

My fellow digital immigrants, we need to figure out this “raising digital natives” thing. We need to direct our kids so that they grow into responsible digital citizens with healthy habits and valuable skills to contribute to our world. Let's start talking about how we are going to do that.

I want to know your thoughts and experiences as a digital immigrant.  Comment here or connect with me on social media (buttons on the right) so that we can start a conversation. And be sure to share this post with your friends who need to get in on this conversation.

Tell me … do you think my “theory” is accurate…that we struggle in this tech-driven world because we're the first generation to mother “digital natives”? What has been your experience as a “digital immigrant” raising a “digital native”? Let’s start talking.

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17 thoughts on “A Mom’s Greatest Struggle in This Tech-Driven World”

  1. I agree whole heartedly!! The grand parents in our lives really have no perspective on the whole parenting of the “digital natives” that run around my house with headphones on and xbox controls in the their hands. The older generations think we are just crazy to let them be on screens so much and we should just say no (which we do but…), in my head I agree with them, but I also know that my kids are growing up in a world that is dominated my the digital and that the world is at their finger tips. It’s part of what makes homeschooling so much easier than it may have been in the past, but part of what makes it so much harder too. I find that as a family we just have to create balance. We go outside as much as we can, we read as much as we can and we also do a lot of our lessons on the computer, we play xbox games as a family and we enjoy it. Because the kids are always going to have this and more technology in their lives and I want to teach them the best balance I can. Part of that is not letting them have “phones” until they can give me a good enough reason why and can help pay for one. We also don’t allow technology in the bedrooms or in their play area. There certainly is time for play on technology, time for learning and time for putting it all away. They key for us as “digital immigrants” is to remember we are just making this up as we go along. We may trip & fall, and that’s ok, but we just keep pushing forward. One of the reasons we decided to homeschool was to make sure we had more family time, more time to get to know each other….I hope we are accomplishing that with balance. 😉

    • Balance….that is a key component of this “screen time struggle”. When I finally embraced the tech involvement level my girls wanted (and needed) and sought a balanced solution, we had so much more peace in our home. About the older generations not understanding…my girls are big on showing their grandma and uncle what they are creating on the computer. Mimi is well-versed in Minecraft now and sees the benefits coming from their productive screen-time. However, we do have a standard in our home that screens are turned off when a guest enters our home.

  2. I taught an internet safety class at out homeschool co-op for 5th – 8th graders this year. We spent a good portion of time talking about what makes a good digital citizen. I am glad you wrote this because there was so much I didn’t know or hadn’t considered when I started preparing to teach that class.

  3. This is a wonderful article, and I know something many parents struggle with, including myself. I have to limit screen time to my sons, and I still think they have too much screen time. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! I hope that you will link up again this week 🙂

  4. I think your theory is absolutely accurate. I mean, yes, our parents had TV to deal with…and most of us had some video games too, but that’s not the same.

    What do you do about screens when it’s also your child isn’t just using it to passively watch videos (we understand that a bit more) but is using it to talk with friends, to do homework (for my public school kids), to research stuff, to do things that OFFLINE would be totally acceptable play-time activities you wouldn’t feel the need to limit (like drawing or playing with puzzles or making music in an app).

    Yeah, we are really breaking new ground.

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