Students who are parents need to fire the digital babysitter

Photo+credit%3A+James+Debbah
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Students who are parents need to fire the digital babysitter

Photo credit: James Debbah

Photo credit: James Debbah

James Debbah

Photo credit: James Debbah

James Debbah

James Debbah

Photo credit: James Debbah

Amira Van Leeuwen

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Young parents and guardians should not be relying on technology to teach and entertain their kids.

In a day and age where technology surrounds us, many young parents are turning toward it as a form of raising their children. What once was a rare public siting is now the norm and the conversation to ending this new social trend starts now.

According to a new analysis of data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, there are 3.8 million students who are raising children while attending college. Of the 3.8 million, roughly 2.7 million are mothers, and the remaining 1.1 million are fathers.

Raising a child is difficult. Add 12 hours of classes and a full time job into the mix and the situation turns nearly impossible. Turning toward an easy fix in moments of chaos can seem convenient and unproblematic. However, this recent technology-dependent normality brings negative impacts on a developing child’s social skills, physical health and psychological development.

For example, a baby’s attachment style is unique to how they were raised while growing up and neurologically coded by their early experiences with a parent or caregiver. The first few years of a child’s life are a crucial time for perceptual development.

Today, young parents and guardians alike, are giving their children technology for the mere sake of having them distracted while they go about daily activities or errands. They completely ignore the effects of their unpaid digital babysitter.

Cris Rowan, a pediatric occupational therapist, states that “as many as one in three children now enter school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement.” The impact of rapidly developing technology is enabling children to rely on technology for the majority of their entertainment inside and outside of school. There has been an increase in overall health problems including, but not limited to child obesity, ADHD, autism, unintelligible speech, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, coordination disorder, etc.

As a first-time parent, it is especially important to bond with the baby. It is not enough to take care of the child’s basic needs but to ensure the baby receives attention and affection. It is a two-way process between a parent and a child and both parties need to connect with one another for the healthiest development.

Now that the new generation has begun to have children, they use social media to upload videos and pictures of their children laughing or talking, rather than fully experiencing those private moments.

The harsh reality is consistent with the physical and psychological impacts of technology having a long-lasting effect on social and mental attitudes within a developing child. While technology will remain a constant in millennial lives, it is important to prevent the upcoming generations from being consumed by a glass screen.

Preventive habits that can combat this digital epidemic are easy to find. Actively trying to set limits on how long or often the child is allowed to play on a device, while also managing personal screen time to spend more time with them are healthy starting points.

Additionally, Texas State created an initiative for Students Who Are Parents, SWAP, to help guide and ensure their success. Connecting with other young parents can aid the development of this, very needed, conversation in creating a healthier world for the generations to come.

Children are refusing to see the sun when the alternative option of a tablet is present. Society needs to notice this horrific influence on young children. It is concerning when kids no longer feel the need to socialize with family and make friends.

While Apple may be relentless about giving in to their new updates or advertising the newest app for children, it is important for young parents and guardians to learn to navigate their way through an era where technology seems to control the average lifestyle.

Specifically, students who are parents can change the role that technology holds within their household and pave the way to a healthier social, physical and psychological development for their children.

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