The Negative Influence of Texting for Our Kids

It is common to see people looking down at their phones even at the most beautiful nature scenes. Today people are texting whether they are at the beach, walking the dog or sitting at a nice park with pine trees even in classes. It’s of course also familiar to see families eating dinner together each in his universe of communication by phone. There was also recently a television report that discussed how twenty-five percent of people attending a funeral including children engage in texting. For many youngsters, this trend seems to be quite disturbing.

Baby boomers didn’t have cell phones most of their lives. Many people over fifty only had phones in their homes, or dorm rooms so never went through teen and college years with portable communication. This meant that there were no communication distractions when you would be at a gathering with people. Children may distract themselves by playing games but not by cell phone texting. One way to see if texting is dominating your life is to ask yourself as a youngster if you are still spending some of each day experiencing live conversations, the scenery in nature and dinner conversations. Do you crave picking up your phone always to check messages? Is it hard to be present to the people you are with at a meal? Ironically, these may be the same people you’d love to text with later in the day. That is something to think about.

Why is it that people often prefer to text than to talk to the people at their table?  One way to look at your attachment to texting is to see how you feel if you forget your phone when you are doing a small task such as going to the grocery store. If you forgot it, how do you react? You may only be gone for thirty minutes, but this could create a terrible panic for some people. Another common problem is that young people text while they drive even in states where it is illegal. It is now a major source of accidents on the road. There are commercials where relatives of those who were killed during driving even show the last text that their family member was received at the time of the fatal car accident. A common complaint from parents of teenagers is that their kids prefer texting to reading books. Many teens are involved in texting at least 3000 times a month. Teens also stay up quite late on school nights texting and often can be found communicating with friends at 2 in the morning. This has an impact on one’s concentration, sleep patterns, and school performance.

Helicopter Parenting and Best Ways to Avoid Being One

Helicopter parenting is a relatively new term in our cultural lexicon. It refers to today’s cultural tendency to parent with a keen eye towards protecting our children from any and all potential sources of harm, risk and disappointment. In many ways, helicopter parenting is synonymous with the notion of “over-parenting” and “hyper-parenting.”

Here are the best ways to avoid being one of the Helicopter parents

  1. Lighten up.

By spending so much time worrying, we are causing our children to be anxious, unadventurous, and afraid in a world that is safer in a lot of ways than ever before. Death by injury has dropped more than 50% since 1980, yet parents insist on removing jungle gyms from playgrounds. There are warning labels on everything from clothing to tables.

There are two types of risks: probable and possible. Anything is possible, but few of those are probable.

  1. Don’t let your emotions rule the roost.

Don’t let your actions get dictated by fear. Many parents spend their days operating in the “danger” mode. From child leashes to GPS systems that will automatically notify you if your child is out of range, parents invest heavily in ensuring their children’s safety.

The fact is that it’s more likely for your child to get injured in your car than abducted by a stranger (1 in 1.5 million) or even molested (80% of children get molested by friends or relatives). This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get prepared but do so in a way that allows your child to learn to be independent.

  1. Let the consequences do the talking.

Parents are going to extreme lengths to make sure their children succeed: everything from bringing forgotten notebooks to school, to requesting “parent packs” from college recruitment officers.

Kids learn by doing. Sometimes, doing means failing. By depriving your child of the chance to do things on their own, whether it’s a walk down the block to a friend, a school report, or choosing what classes to take their freshman year, you deprive them of the chance to grow. Failure alone is not the problem; it is the failure to learn from our mistakes that are ultimately the most dangerous enemy our children face.

  1. Let the play begin.

Children these days are overscheduled, micro-managed, and pushed to be better, smarter, stronger, and more talented -right from birth. The smart baby market is one of the most lucrative, matched only by a load of products geared towards their older siblings.

However, research shows that having free time just to play is critical to a child’s development in many areas. Cut down on the amount of scheduled extracurricular activities by at least 25%. Instead of dreading unstructured time, think of it as giving your child time to be themselves.