I came across this article at ABS-CBN News Online’s site:
Shock! Teenagers and parents are talking: report
LONDON – The family meal may be threatened with extinction but “High-Tech” parents are now communicating much better with their teenagers and giving them more freedom, says child psychologist Richard Woolfson.
Long gone are the days when parents were much more dictatorial and children were to be seen, not heard.
“The consultation, negotiation and mutual respect that goes on between parents and teenagers in families today would probably shock the mums and dads of 50 years ago,” Woolfson said in a study of how family communication has evolved.
Sitting round the table together for a meal was once the bedrock of family life. It is now becoming a thing of the past but Woolfson stressed that was not the end of the world.
“Now we have today’s high-tech family where family communication takes place by email, internet, webcam and mobile phone as well as face-to-face of course,” he said.
That has another beneficial side-effect, Woolfson said in his survey for the T-Mobile phone company.
Parents are now able to contact their kids much more easily and children have become more confident and communicative.
“This means that parents are less worried about their children’s safety because they feel reassured,” Woolfson said.
And the generation gap is not suffering.
“Even grandma and grandpa have entered the world of cyber space to keep close contact with their children and grandchildren, all of which can only be good news for everyone,” Woolfson concluded.
Timely enough that this article came out because I was indeed thinking about this just recently.
The advent of technology has indeed changed somewhat the way my kids and I communicate. Ours is a wi-fi home. Anywhere in the house, one has internet access. And when home, my kids are almost always on the internet — playing games, emailing, YM-ing their friends or doing homework.
When I leave for work, I often sign on to Yahoo Messenger’s SMS service and when I get to work, sign onto my email with chat enabled.
It’s been really convenient and gives me peace of mind since I know I can almost always reach my kids. I can tell the moment M1 and M2 are home as their chat status changes to ONLINE. These are times when I can connect with them by saying hi and asking how their day went. Of course, it is also their chance to tell me things such as “Mom, I need a 1/4 illustration board by tomorrow. Can you buy on the way home?” Sometimes, I have to arbitrate an argument online. Once, i got chat messages that went like this.
C2 (YM-ing me): Mom, Achi …..(went on to describe her argument with sister)
C1 (YM-ing from another computer): Mom, don’t listen to C2…(and goes on to narrate her side)
I am glad for technology since it brings me closer to them, in a sense, as I connect with them the way they are used to communicating. Kids nowadays feel more comfortable with computers than we ever were. No wonder despite there being a landline in the house, they almost never choose to use this, thanks to internet chatting and webcams. But, wary of dangers on the net too, one thing I do is make sure their computers are located in very visible areas. And that means (house rule) — NO LOCKING OF DOORS! There are other house rules related to safety on the internet which I have discussed with them but somehow we have to find a balance now that most people discuss their lives on social networking sites like Facebook, Friendster or MySpace.
Reminds me of one time when I was working in my room, waiting for C1 to come home from school. Knowing that she sometimes surfs the internet even while in the car (using wi-fi hotspots), I decided to check and true enough she was online. So, I sent off a YM to her asking where she was and she promptly replied:
“Hi, Mom! I’m in the other room! LOL!”
How does technology help you connect with your own kids? Do you have any qualms about it? Let me know!
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