How Digital Technology Impacts the Life of Children in Taiwan
You may find the following scene familiar. A parent and a child sit together in a public space without exchanging any conversations as they are too engrossed in playing with their phones. Has our excessive reliance on digital technology changed our family dynamics? CWLF has conducted a randomized study to investigate into the current situation of the use of digital technology among families with children.
Children’s life nowadays is inseparable from digital technology. Over half of the children participated in the study ask their parents for digital products to play with when they are bored. 36 percent of the children carry digital products with them at all time. Almost half of the children find themselves in a terrible mood when they are unable to play with digital products. Some 18 percent of the children even become agitated when they do not have the gadgets with them. Also, almost 30 percent of the children have had the experience of playing with digital products until midnight.
The study further reveals that many parents themselves are addicted to digital technology. Almost 30 percent of the children observed their parents spending most of their time at home playing with their phone. 35 percent of the parents have played with digital products until midnight. As such, the children easily complain about the unfairness when their parents restrict their time on playing with digital products. Moreover, the more addictive the parents are, the higher the risk of the child becoming addictive too. Therefore, when children start to show addiction towards digital technology, it might be best for the parents to reflect on their own frequency in playing with digital products and be a convincing role model.
The study has also brought a few risks into light. It can be seen from the study that the quality of parent-child interaction is affected as the children and the parents grow attach to digital technology. Nearly 30 percent of the children think their parents’ use of digital products have caused problems in their everyday life. These may be taking photos and interrupting the child, taking photos of meals, and trying to take control over the child’s social network. 40 percent of the children said they have felt ignored by their parents when they wanted to talk to them but their parents were busy playing with their phones. Some children have had conflicts with their parents as the parents tried to interfere with their use of digital products.
Playing with digital products also decreases children’s opportunities and willingness to play outside. 60 percent of the children indicate that during weekends, they stay home and play with digital products because their parents are either too busy or too tired. Also, over half of the children once believed staying home to play with digital products was better than going out. When both the parents and the children are addicted to digital products, they are 10 percent more likely than the average family to stay home during weekends.
CWLF hereby suggests the 3C movement for a healthier way of using digital products:
Control: According to Dr. Gwenn Schurgin O’Keefe from American Academy of Pediatrics, digital products like iPhone are similar to televisions. The Academy advices it is better to wait until a child turns two years old to introduce television. This should also be applied to digital products. Children under six years old should not play with digital products for more than 30 minutes each time and the total amount of time spent should not be more than one hour a day.
Communication: The study indicates conflicts between the parents and the children arise as the result of using digital products. Both the parents and the children should find a way of interacting that is comfortable to both ends. Digital products should not be the mean of interacting with or controlling children.
Companionship: Many parents allow their children to stay home and play with digital products during weekends. Not only should parents limit children’s time on playing with digital products, they should also take children outdoor to allow some break for the eyes and to spend quality time with children.