With the rise of technology comes the rise of incessant parental intervention, and not in a good way.
Parents usually want the best for their children. However, in this new Digital Age, the increase in widespread internet access leads them to struggle with handling the online activities of their teenagers. Understandably, parents have now become more stressed, but they have also started to impose overbearing rules on their little ones as a result of their suddenly manifested paranoia. Though they have every right to be concerned, being overly-restrictive can cause growing kids to develop more rebellious tendencies and defiant qualities.
Unless parental intervention is needed to prevent children from being harmed, children should have the ability to develop personal responsibility without constantly being subject to consequences.
The innovation that has sparked the most controversy in the long list of technological advances is the app Life360. It allows individuals to track each other’s location, and it is mostly used by family members to track their children everywhere they go. According to a college student whose location is still being tracked by her parents, the feeling of constantly being watched makes her feel uneasy and uncomfortable.
“It was supposedly for my safety,” ‘Ivy’ said to The Washington Post. “But, I never had the option to refuse.”
In fact, her parents threaten her by refusing to pay for her tuition if she turns her location off for long periods of time. Some of ‘Ivy’s’ text messages show her mother’s manipulative words, including, “looks like you are wanting to begin paying for your own rent, tuition/textbooks, and living expenses.”
Moreover, many parents force their children to turn over their devices in order to “make sure that they are not doing anything wrong.” If looking through your children’s personal content is needed to ensure that they are following the rules, then there must be some serious trust issues that need to be addressed. In that case, parents should work on developing healthy relationships with their children instead of taking away their rights to privacy, which further contributes to their diminishing outlook on life.
This is psychological abuse at its core, and it should not be taken lightly. Over-the-top surveillance measures like these did not exist when technology was still in its feeble state, so the parents then did not have access to the devices that parents have now. Yet, as technology improves day-by-day, adults need to learn to adapt to the new changes and use it for the benefits of their children. Rather than weaponizing the very advancements that exist solely for the betterment of society, people should use it to do good by sharing their knowledge with the world and connecting with others around them.
Furthermore, excessive control can stunt children’s emotional and mental growth as they age. According to a study conducted by the Society for Research in Child Development, a strong psychological presence during adolescence prevents the development of awareness well into mid-adulthood. These effects are the results of parents’ overbearing natures, and the research shows just how detrimental it can be to kids, especially during the early portions of their lives. When children are exposed to such harsh conditions at early ages, they grow up without understanding what it is like to be independent or what it feels like to be in control of their own matters. This would likely cause them to be dependent on others in the future, as having a domineering childhood can cause people to lose faith in themselves and feel emotionally unstable.
Additionally, the strictest parents usually have the most rebellious children. A healthy parent-to-child relationship involves lots of communication and compromises, and achieving one is nearly impossible when children are not allowed to speak their mind. This propels teenagers to go “against the rules,” as they start to manifest their own desires for freedom. As a result, they are also more likely to go overboard in their disobedient states and engage in more illicit activities like taking drugs and smoking carcinogenic substances.
Though parents have power over their children, they should still not ignore their children's pleas for help thinking that they are “just kids who do not understand anything about how the world works.” A person’s childhood defines who they are, and their parents have a big role in shaping it. Kids are just kids, but they deserve to be heard. They deserve to use their voices. If you want your child to listen to you, do not alienate your children, but embrace them.