They don't want to be doctors, professors or athletes anymore. When they're older they'll be influencers, gamers or YouTubers. The digital revolution has changed young people's aspirations as well as their present context. Nowadays, coming of age means opening a social media account.
Parents are increasingly aware of this reality. According to a study conducted by Empantallados.com and GAD3, 85 percent of parents think that what their kids are looking for on social networks is recognition. They also confirm that this objective absorbs them to the point that it's difficult to get them away from the screen. That's why experts recommend setting limits.
MARÍA JOSÉ ABAD
“There should be rules at home setting limits to screen time. There should be moments set aside not only for kids, but for parents and kids. We should also think about the 'why.' Why do we use technology? Going on YouTube to browse at random, without a specific goal, is very different from going on YouTube to learn how to do something.”
María José Abad is one of the authors of the published report. It's called “The impact of screens on family life. Teens.” It details the conflict between family time and smartphones, which affects not only the kids, but the parents as well.
MARÍA JOSÉ ABAD
“It's the first time parents and kids face that same problem, which is an excessive use of screens. Parents are moving toward that double-sided state of being both technology users and parents, and if setting an example is so important in every facet of education, it's even more so within this digital context.”
To contrast the imbalance a digital environment can cause in kids, experts propose cultivating a healthy sense of self-esteem, real social relationships and abilities that technology doesn't help develop, such as critical thinking skills.
The study was conducted with more than 600 parents with kids under 18, in Spain. Researchers realize that smartphones have replaced televisions as the commanding screen at home. On smartphones, content is available on demand. Computers are used to complete homework assignments, and tablets are usually used by younger children.