Is Tech becoming dopamine for our kids?
As a parent I am horrified daily by the anecdotal news that my son’s life is going to blighted and probably ruined by technology, the technology my generation invented and celebrated so hard at start of the century.
I feel lucky. I escaped the real pinnacle of tech madness by a couple of years, by which I mean handing children (young children) a screen when the want arises. We can all re-tell amusing stories of our children deftly utilising technology (Arthur navigated Amazon and ordered some Fireman Sam kit when he was 2 – I thought he was so clever I let him keep the lot). Adults are not immune to the dopamine effect of swiping, each little flick providing a release and adding to the overall addictive effect of ‘getting results’ - but our developed self-control enables us to moderate.
Portability has arguably made the biggest single difference to the way we interact with our technology and therefore the way our children do. CBeebies is available when you’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment, at the airport or for the school run home and as with our TV watching habits there is no natural cut off point – no point where the News comes on to ruin your after school hit of Neighbours.
In 2016 we conducted a research project understanding and exploring the needs of the modern family. As a result we identified 6 key needstates families are looking to answer. Protection was a major family need, an area where brands can help families and their children better prepare for independence in their off and online worlds. We talked about how brands can get better at enhancing the impact they have on our daily tech lives concluding that brands that successfully offer us some form of protection can play a positive role in our households.
However, I expect I sound like every 40 something moaning about how technology will ruin us all, but wasn’t tech the thing that would take away all the boring stuff and allow us to get back to the good stuff, like digging for Roman coins and diving for treasure? In my mind, the future for my son and his friends would be practically free of the small stuff (no need to sweat then) so he could concentrate on saving the world from bad people or invent great Lego (more likely). Every generation contains something killing the future, which makes us hanker for the past. For my parents it was Neighbours with its Australian slang and flipflops in winter taking over our TV at tea time that was to endanger civilised society. I survived and in those (sepia coloured) days we had the News to break up the fun with no alternative. There was a hard stop. As parents we are the only hard stop between our children and a life hooked up to a black shiny rectangle.
Despite what you might think after reading this article my son does have access to tech, he doesn’t wear hessian and has a wonderful social circle (smiley face emojii) but he has tech boundaries, finds drawing enjoyable and can scale a tree in 5 seconds flat.
Image source: The Telegraph
- Article by Faye Hanks