The Effects of Technology on Parents and Children’s Loneliness

Posted on November 13, 2018

We often deem technology to be one of the factors eliminating real-life interactions between humans and the increase in social isolation. It makes us virtually available for communication all the time, but constant technology usage can lead to isolation in real life. The issue of loneliness is prevalent all around the world, and technology is not a medium that can replace real-life interactions.

Loneliness is the lack of a relationship or connection formed, not the absence of people, explaining how we can feel lonely even standing in a crowd. The desire for a relationship and not just the presence of people, is a sign of extreme loneliness. Sometimes when we have a group gathering with our friends or family, most people would be more fixated on their phones than engaging in the real-life conversations. When we do not have a chance to be involved in real-life social interactions with others, the sense of isolation felt can lead to loneliness.

There might be a lack of positive real-life interaction between parents and their children due to the increase in parents’ screen time. Although children are given stringent rules about when and where they could use their phones, the availability of technology devices are ultimately controlled and used by their parents who equally believe in its function to connect them with their friends and people around the world.

Statistics show that young adults are often lonelier than midlife and older adults. People who are exposed to technology since young are not only deprived of the usual real-life social interactions children are supposed to have as they are constantly distracted by their phones. Technology isn’t solely to blame for people’s lack of social interactions, we should focus more on people’s social needs instead. Not only do young adults and children often satisfy their social needs through technology usage, parents themselves also find it hard to resist technology. Social apps and chat rooms, discussion forums, shopping sites, online gaming etc. can draw people in for long periods of time, hence a possible reason for parents’ neglect towards their child.

The unavailability of adults and parents is highly associated with millennial's’ loneliness. Most children nowadays did not get the opportunity to experience the same level of one-on-one time with their parents as much, as compared to children from the earlier generations. Young adults often depend on technology to stay in contact with their friends anywhere and anytime rather than learning how to interact and communicate with them in real life. The lack of personal connections and genuine relationships established nowadays, calls for attention on not just children’s screen time, but adult’s screen time too.

Active involvement with social media and online websites is not necessarily a cause of loneliness unless there is an excessive use of it. Light to moderate social media usage is acceptable, it only becomes a problem when one sees technology as their main source of connection with others. People spend time engaging with social media content, sometimes forgetting about the unpredictability of our emotions when forming relationships. Always remember that relationships are established through unpredictable circumstances and multiple possible situations when our attention lands on someone we have never met before and during meaningful shared experiences in real life.

Category(s):Child Development, Parenting, Social Isolation

Source material from Psychology Today

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