I am not a parent, however in my opinion I strongly believe that there is no question; no two ways about it. A parent should be a parent come hell or high water. How can you as a parent sit and ignore your child while you plant your virtual crops or make out with your virtual boyfriend?!
I agree technology is essential for today's development but at what cost? What happens when it is taken too far and begins to destroy lives and tear families apart? Are we to sit back and ignore it pretending that everything is fine? Is this even healthy? I hate the fact that some parents ignore their children because they are too busy living an online life and too blind to see that it's destroying their real lives.
My own sister can be used as an example. Four years ago, she was happily married, studying to become a nurse and had a baby girl. Then she asked her husband for a computer and internet. When she got what she wanted, she spent hours on Facebook under the pretence of studying online with friends for exams. Her child was neglected by her, thankfully her in-laws stepped up and took care of the child. Then exam time rolled around and lo and behold she failed.
She even went so far as to feign sickness to get out of the hot waters she placed herself in. We later discovered that she was having an online affair with someone from another country. In the end she ended up getting a divorce, failing her exams and having to come live with us while she attempted to rebuild her life.
Another example? My dear mother. She recently entered the Facebook scene and somehow she always seems to find herself in trouble over it. Firstly it was with myself and her. She wanted to set up the account, so I told her a date of was required, she yelled at me, claiming it's none of my business. I never asked for my personal information, I asked because it was NECESSARY for the account to be created. I walked away and told her she can set up her own account. Then she created the account and went over the top with pictures. I was annoyed due to the fact that she uploaded over 40 pictures of me which were open publicly. I asked her to remove them or set it to friends only which led to another fight. They are MY pictures, you should respect my privacy, not so?!
Then Mummy dearest and I went to the theatre to see "Jab Tak Hai Jaan" (English- As Long As There Is Life). I was so upset with her throughout the entire movie. She was on BBM (Black Berry Messenger). I had no problem with this, however I asked if she could turn the sound off, because she was receiving a message every minute or so and it was distracting. She refused and yelled at me. The light was also distracting, we were in a dark theatre, so obviously that one light would have been eye catching. A few days later, I walked down the stairs into our living room and
Mummy dearest was on bbm again, I walked into the music room and the keyboard tumbled on me because they were adjusting the stand for it but Mom was too busy to remember and warn me about it even though my uncle asked her to do so.
Many times I attempt to have a conversation with her and I am ignored because she is on BBM or Facebook. Attempting to carry on an important conversation with my mother while she is on either of these two is like talking to a brick wall.
I recall reading about a mother who either killed or injured her own three year old son because he was crying and trying to get her attention while she was on Farmville. That thought disgusts me, that your pixel cows mean more to you than your son. A typical morning in my house is me walking down the steps, my mother is on the sofa, using Facebook, her hubby skyping on his Iphone, my sister in her room, usually on BBM and her boyfriend in the music room, usually on skype or Facebook as well. No one bothers to look up or say anything as they are in their own little worlds.
I believe that my own mother is taking social networking a step too far. A couple weeks ago, she was chatting with a friend via Facebook at 1:00 am, while everyone else was asleep. We were awakened to the sound of some crazy person blasting Ronan Keating - She believes in me. Everyone was quiet about it, everyone except me that is. I got out of my bed and acted like a total jerk, but she deserved it. It was so inconsiderate of her to play music that loudly while everyone was asleep and some had work the following morning. Of course, she yelled at me again, lately it seems as if all our fights are due to her use and abuse of technology.
Sometimes I wish she would take a break, many times we are driving and she suddenly pulls over to text someone or to BBM. I am never quiet about it because it's ridiculous. This past week, I woke up and was about to pack myself a lunch bag when she told me she will do it. I went back to bed for a few minutes expecting her to back it in time for me to leave. One hour later, I went back down and she was on Facebook, forgot about me. This is a constant thing in my house, Mummy dearest neglecting her duties for Facebook or Twitter, BBM, skype, or whatever have you. Somedays I am so steaming mad that I consider blocking those social networking websites from our network so that she will no longer be able to access them from any of the computers in our house.
As soon as she gets her hands on a laptop, it's Facebook. At times I have to sit and beg for my own laptop because she refuses to get off. Perhaps she is addicted, or using it to escape reality. Whatever the case may be, I don't think this is very healthy for ANY parent to neglect their duties for technology.
Call me old fashioned but I believe in families spending time together doing quality, life enriching activities. I believe a family that spends time together, stays together. How many times as parents did you ignore your child because you were watching a special movie or tv show? How many times did you ignore them because you were too busy chatting or playing a game?
Technology is taking over our lives, parents need to log off Facebook and pay attention to their kids. I focused on parenting being neglected for technology, but it's not just parents. Relationships are being torn apart due to it. We live in an era of smart phones and stupid people, you can touch each other but not each other's phones. I've seen many relationships end due to technology, it's a terrible thing where one person becomes so addicted to the technological advances now readily available to us that they forget their own lives and live behind a screen. It can be a beautiful thing, to keep connected with family, form relationships it's just how we use it.
Every child needs a parent, I should know this. I grew up without a father and a mother who was mostly absent even though I lived with her. I am comfortable with that, it's my life, and it does not bother me in any way, I am happy with the life I have however, some kids may not agree. They need their parents and when they are abandoned or neglected they turn to crime, they turn to drugs or any such vices to attract their parents attention. So, the next time your child attempts to have a conversation with you, please turn off the laptops, cell phones, tablets, tv's or radio and listen to them. Spend time with your children and show them the importance of living a well rounded life rather than one behind a screen.