Green Words = Positive Reference, Red Words = Negativity, Orange Words = Confusing Reference.
Will the tech gadgets bridge the ever-increasing yawning gap between the parents and the whiz kids today?
Parenting is a tough job in today’s era where parents are becoming clueless as to how to deal with the ever-increasing demands of teenagers.
The question raised here is: Who is the culprit? Are parents too much involved in their schedules and not able to give time?
Or are the children flabbergasted by the information explosion on the internet?
Well, it seems both of the parties are subjected to be at fault here.
And definitely, both parents as wells as teenagers are enduring at their respective ends.
In this article, the topic of discussion is parenting woes and challenges and how the tech gadgets can help us to understand or “control” the disoriented teenager’s behavior.
Parenting is a tough challenge and when one indulges in this arena, only then one confronts the various problems related to it.
Internet and technology are built to facilitate our lifestyle and daily activities.
But most of the times, these facilities backfire, as many parents are unaware of the pros and cons of different apps or websites.
And sometimes they are unwilling to adapt to new gadgets or technologies.
The parents are unaware of the sites or the apps which the teenagers love to use.
On the other hand, even the seasoned bloggers and experts use the Internet differently than the youngsters. These experts are working towards the enhancement of their work which is more purposeful.
While the teenagers have entirely different usage of the Internet.
We know that this creates the misunderstanding and the void between the two sides and the commonly coined term is Generation Gap.
So the inevitable question is how to keep the children safe if the parents are not aware of what they are dealing with?
Delving Into The Realm of Parenting
Here’s an exclusive reference to an episode of Black Mirror series on Netflix, Arkangel.
This particular episode is reflexive of the issue of parenting in this article.
We will be delving into the various realms of parenting particularly focused on teenager parenting based on this episode.
Arkangel literally, means the guiding angel who protects you in your tough times.
So it goes, in the episode, Arkangel is a special microchip implanted in the brain of the child. In other words, the neural impulses of the child are hacked.
Her mother can monitor all the activities, e.g. what she sees, where her location is, and to top it off she even blurs unpleasant visual images which raise her cortisol levels.
A perfect dream come true for parents. A tablet which gives one full control over the child.
Actually, it hovers like a monitor on the child, her each activity is seen and gauged by her overprotective mom.
This is a particular case of helicopter parenting.
Now, the question arises, what was the need for this particular device?
And would we as parents opt for this thought infringing microchip in dire need of an emergency which leads to another idea and, i.e. what could be termed as an emergency?
Well, in this case, the loss of a child seems unbearable, but the things turn ironical when in the end Marie had to endure perpetual estrangement from her only child.
The episode starts with a defeated mother unable to deliver her baby normally, so in the starting only, Marie displays her inability to tackle the circumstances.
Marie also faces insecurities regarding the existence of her only child Sara. When Sara was born, she didn’t cry immediately, and the mother felt at loss of her child. But the doctors managed to revive the baby much to the relief of the mother.
The second instance of her insecurity takes her straightaway to the Arkangel headquarters.
Sara, a sweet cherub is accompanied by her mother in a park where she gets astray following a little kitty. That instance where Marie loses her baby for a brief period is simply heart rendering.
As a viewer one gets swayed by the emotions of a perturbed mother and gets transported to the world of tech help given by Arkangel headquarters.
Once the chip is implanted, one is awed by the number of choices given by the installer of the program.
A sense of relief and security also engulfs the viewer as now the mother can monitor Sara’s activities.
But the inevitable cannot be altered, even if the picture seems rosy.
Things went hunky dorky from here onwards. Her mom grew entirely dependent on this device.
She had full dominance over her senses and activities, but what is enraging that the mother hijacks her senses.
Right from the beginning, she knows what is bothering Sara, but she is hardly talking it out with the teenager child.
Sara is overprotected and does not know how to address her fears: be it a howling and menacing neighborhood dog, or bullying and being called as a “chiphead”, (courtesy her implanted chip) or blurred images of blood and violence.
Parental Guidance Tips
Rule number one :
TALKING IT OUT WITH YOUR CHILD.
Having a conversation on a regular basis is a very vital component in parenting.
Psychologists have seen considerable changes when a one to one talk is carried out between the parent and the teenager.
Talking it out helps to create a unique bond with the child and strengthens the relationship.
In fact, a child emulates a parent or a grown up in his thoughts and behavior. So, if that parent is around the teenager physically and emotionally, the child gets the affirmation that he is safe.
He dares to ask and discuss anything which transpires in his nubile mind.
And then the parent makes the child aware of all things which need to be considered for holistic development.
Moving on with the story, we can see the severe implications of using the Arkangel device which hampers the growth of Sara.
She is oblivious to all the dangers and the strategies to deal them.
The anxious mother is faced suddenly with a teenager who tries to see the sight of blood by harming herself.
Upon the intervention of a counselor, the mother is suggested to set up the tablet aside and let the child be on herself.
And here she is now suddenly all by herself, timid and submissive about her environment.
Her so-called peers infiltrate her mind with all kinds of information be it porn or violence.
And Sara is left on her own to deal with this sudden burst of data.
Now, this is what Parents should be aware of.
Giving The Right Kind of Information at The Right Time Through The Right Channel.
The next phase of the episode takes a crucial turn, the teenager Sara sneaks out with her friend, by fooling her mom.
Rendering helpless upon finding that Sara did not reach on time, the helpless Marie rushes to the tablet, accidentally witnesses Sara losing her virginity.
This particular scene is also calamitous, and again instead of talking it out, the mother chooses to keep mum about the whole issue.
At one point in time it seems a gross intervention of privacy and boundaries, but at the same time, one feels connected to the wretched condition of the mother to become perfect in raising her teenager.
Adding to her woes and erratic behavior she handles her daughter’s pregnancy by giving her contraceptive pills in her smoothie.
It is precisely a state of a failed case of helicopter parenting where the entire motive of nurturing a teenager seems lost.
The next tip for parenting is:
Empowering The Child by His/Her Own Confidence
Now, this is possible only if the child is told that ” To err is human “
Which means that a teenager is told that it is okay to do mistakes as long as he learns from them and rectifies them in future.
And also that it takes a lot of courage to get up and get going after failures.
Constant nagging leads to irritation, loss of confidence and negativity in the child’s personality.
Appraisal of his actions, howsoever negligent and menial like washing dishes, or arranging laundry makes him a winner, and he gains immense confidence in himself.
And here Marie, the mother in the episode failed miserably.
She created a world for Sara barred from all the negatives.
So far so good but the point she misses out completely is that when one does not see the bad, one cannot appreciate the good.
The fact Sara could not see blood or any unusual happenings which raised her cortisol levels makes her insensitive and callous.
This oblivion towards distressing vistas creates an unempathetic teenager unable of handling stress and anger.
So much so, she is unaware of the pain (emotional and physical) that she is causing others.
Sara becomes self-centered and selfish to such extent that while hitting her mom ruthlessly, upon knowing that her privacy was hacked, she doesn’t feel any remorse and shame.
Impact of Unending Ocean of Knowledge on The Internet
Another thought-provoking aspect needs to be discussed here, and that is the irreplaceable impact on young teens by the violent and hyper-sexualized imagery.
When in bed with Trick, Sara clumsily tries to impersonate a porn star trying to prove herself as a happening teenager, which is rendered entirely unnecessary.
Monitoring The Child’s Activities On Internet
What we as parents do not realize is the power of internet and its embedding devices and the kind of indelible imprint it leaves on the minds of teenagers.
In the process of giving the so-called facilities and equipage, we are responsible for turning our children to emotionally deficient and unempathetic morons.
But here’s the looming question which also keeps on raiding our minds.
How to keep teenagers safe and secured in a tech-savvy environment while giving them ample dignity of space to raise themselves into a confident self?
The parental dilemma changes with each changing aspect.
It’s the right time to introspect and understand each other to get a better perception regarding the raising the child.
The Internet is a gateway to an ocean of information.
Having queries about potty training, thumb-sucking, time-outs, or giving essential sex knowledge to the teenagers?
No worries guys: Google expertise is here to get you out of any tricky situation.
But then sometimes the same solutions can backfire.
This is the result of the broader perspective which is scanned by the net, and we can go bonkers as to select which information is right and authentic.
We as parents are also intimidated by the fact that the children today are susceptible to cybercrime and exploitation that did not exist a few decades ago.
Leaking their objectionable videos, child pornography, nude selfies, fake ids and many more alarming terms which bring us to our wit’s end.
Parents find these terms threatening, first of all, they are not aware of them let alone how to deal with them.
They look for ways to curb their offspring’s access to it, or at least to minimize the risk.
And hence the apprehension caused in the mind of Marie, and that explains the filters she uses on her tablet.
And later, she is petrified to see her daughter experimenting with drugs and sex and fails to deal with the situation.
Did the filters help or exaggerate the scenario?
Well, the answer is crystal clear, what began as an aid towards supervision of the kid developed as an invader of her privacy and instead of helping the mom, created a mangled mess of disintegrated personality where the young teen is clueless about everything around her.
While communication is the primary domain for effective parenting, one also needs to give the child Unconditional Love and Corrective Guidance.
Parents are the mentors for their offsprings who guide and correct them but at the same time offer them absolute admiration and love.
And in real terms, the filters need to be put here rather than the tablet.
While confronting teenagers, we should avoid blaming, criticising, fault finding which impairs the child’s self-esteem.
So gradually the confidence is built so that the child can be nurtured correctly.
Checklist for Quick Revision
Proceeding towards winding up the topic here is a concise checklist for effective parenting for our wavering teenagers.
1. Bridge the gap, build the relationship, tell your child that you love them, make them feel wanted and secured.
2. Engage in playful and mindful activities with your child, like bedtime stories, long walks with a pet, or doing a project together. It is a fun way of learning while having fun.
3. Show your child that you care by tending their physical and emotional needs. At every stage, they want to share their experiences and feelings; we just have to be present for them, and then they will never waver towards the negative company.
4. Try and understand a child’s perspective once in a while. To accept and comprehend their viewpoint is imperative for giving them a boost for enhancing their thought processes.
5. Socialising with peer groups and sense of belongingness is undoubtedly an essential tool for the growth of a holistic personality.
6. Trips to amusement parks, going to movies together, parties etc. make awesome childhood memories to cherish for.
7. Try to model functional behavior with your people around you, i.e. your spouse, your friends, colleagues. This is because a teenager learns what he sees around him rather than what is taught to him verbally.
Well, the list can go on, but even by following above-mentioned points we can undoubtedly review our parenting skills.
One more thing though, by practicing these things we can wean our offsprings from the clutches of the enticing world of apps and latest gadgets.
These activities will keep them occupied, and they will not feel magnetized towards them.
We as parents should learn to recognize the right kind of tech gadgets and also the correct way of using them and avoid to infringe the privacy of teenagers.
Remember, our prime motive is to shape the personalities of teenagers into matured and responsible youth rather than turning them into whimsical and eccentric tech freaks.
With this wishing all of you Happy Parenting with the aid of new advents of technology.
If you have any questions, thoughts or comments, please share below in the comments section.