Technology Use

What have you been looking at online recently? A new recipe to try, a million suggested home DIY projects, or just lots clips from your favourite shows? The internet is no longer for the older generations to connect and complete work, is now used by every age group for much much more than what I’ve suggested above. And despite its ever-present nature, and endless usefulness there is still an ongoing debate regarding how we should allow our young people to use the internet.
It may sound typical, that “Boomers” are all against children accessing the internet, citing that young generations will be at the mercy of misinformation, stranger danger, and manipulation online. But would it surprise you that many in Generation Z are citing similar concerns with technology usage, and unfortunately, many more.

Young people, particularly influencers on social media, such as TikTok are warning about the negative impacts that unrestricted internet access had on them from a young age. Some report finding highly inappropriate content, without even searching for it, just when scrolling on websites that may be generally considered safe, such as YouTube or Facebook. Others discuss the biological impacts, realising in their teens that their technology use was an addiction and that it impacted their mental health, and motivation in other areas of their lives. In fact, you may have heard recently that Fiona Stanley Hospital has recently opened a clinic to target gaming addiction. Many of these young people say that when they raise their children, they will make concerted efforts to monitor and be collaborative with their young people when it comes to using the internet and are broadcasting their experiences for current parents to take on board.

Image of a young boy on  a VR headset.

Now let’s stop ourselves for a moment before we get caught up in fearmongering and bashing technology and look at the many benefits of technology. We’ll get the more widely discussed ones out of the way, like connectedness and abundance of knowledge. Social media and our excellent pocket computers have opened our young people up to 1000s of new experiences. With the right teaching and boundaries, young people can establish quality skills for researching and learning. Additionally, they can build friendships with people in their various communities and from around the world. In some cases, we may do more harm than good when we severely limit our teenager’s access to the internet as this can increase social isolation from friends and support. So, it is important to be fair and cooperative when we are considering decreasing social media/technology use in our homes.

So, it is difficult to balance access and restriction, making sure that our children have access to the wealth of information at their fingertips, but also the boundaries and knowledge to help them learn when technology is no longer working for them.

If you need help striking this difficult balance or want to learn more about how to put appropriate technology boundaries in place in your home, it can help to contact an allied health practitioner with experience in this area. Psychologists at One Central Health can construct plans around balanced technology use and how to discuss technology usage with your family.

If you’d like to find out more about One Central Health, give us a call today on (08) 9344 1318.

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