Technology and its family divide
The family dynamic has been challenging since the first teenager rolled their eyes at their parents 2 billion years ago. The comparison between the nuclear family dynamic within the 18th century and the 21st century is virtually unrecognizable. Though both benefits and extreme disadvantages of technology, there is absolutely no escaping it. Generations X and Y will not know a life without it. Technologies rapid advancements have come to play a significant role on our daily lives as humans. From the moment people wake up, to the moment they go to sleep technology is constantly around them. So its no secret that a humans closest companion, technology, has had an indispensable effect on the constant and ever changing family dynamic, creating a serious divide in todays family culture.
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Technology can be found in all aspects of the human life, it is especially prominent within an anthropological viewpoint. Anthropology is the scientific study of the origin, the behaviour, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans. Anthropology can be seen within two spectrums; cultural anthropology which is the study of both past and present culture, and physical anthropology being the study of how humans have developed biologically overtime. From an anthropological viewpoint, technology has affected the family dynamic as it is creating a lack of respect between children and parents regarding their intelligence and skill level within technology, creating secrecy and lack of communication. Dr. Jim Taylor, who received his Ph.D. in psychology, states in his blog post that, “This divergence in competence in such an important area of children’s lives makes it more difficult for parents to assume the role of teacher and guide in their children’s use of technology” (Taylor. ). When teens have a feeling of superiority over their parents, they may become unwilling to listen to them when they try and establish rules and boundaries. This unwillingness to listen to parents can come to create an unbalanced relationship along side power struggles. In regards to the point stated above, who is to say children in technology are the main source of the problem? Parents and technology have also played a significant role with creating a family divide. Although technology creates a sense of independence for teens, parents are also becoming more concerned with their own technology rather then their own children. To prove this point, “Some parents use Facebook to keep track of their children’s coming and goings. Other parents friend their children as a means of feeling closer to them”. This point is crucial to the stated argument as it proves, instead of using real communications, parents are trying to connect with their children threw social media, blurring the lines between actual face to face communications and technology linguistics. A parent may assume they know about their Childs comings and goings as they can see through social media, but this is not always the case. Although pieces of a teens life are shown through social media, much of it is still oblivious to most parents, contrary to what they may think. Overall anthropology has and will continue to show the evolutionary impact that technology is putting on the respect levels within a family in general, and within the common family dynamic.
Psychology focuses on the study of the mind and the functions of what happens in it during different situations. Its no secret that mental illnesses, like depression are a serious epidemic on the rise within this generation. With things like social media, its no wonder we are more prone to things like anxiety creating poor communication skills. Social media is creating a communication divide within the family dynamic as it has become easier to confide in someone online through a phone, then to your parents face to face. Not explaining your concerns with your family can create a feeling of being unwanted or unsupported. As stated in the article, “children who spent considerable time on a popular social networking site indicated that they felt less supported by their parents.”. The feeling of a Childs parents not abetting and validating their ideas and opinions can create a downfall in not only a Childs mental health, but can lead to damaging effects on their physical health as-well. The larger psychological concern found within the family dynamic is the simple fact that families in current day, will be unable to build or maintain a healthy family dynamic and relationship that families have had decades before. Dr. Taylor states in his blog that, “As a result, children will feel less familiarity, comfort, trust, security, and, most importantly, love from their parents” (Taylor). This statement plays a large role in proving the fact of, when children are spending more time on technology rather then spending time with and being surrounded by family, its no wonder mental illness is at an all time high. We are ignorant of the love shown through family time people had before technology became so prominent. Overall, a healthy family relationship can offer genuine happiness to ones life and can come to provide a sense of meaning and belonging. Spending time with family is both beneficial to parents and children as the kids are less likely to exhibit behavioural problems, thus making it easier for a family to create a stronger emotional bond between both, parents and children. As Harvard happiness expert, Daniel Gilbert explains: “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.” (gilbert )
Sociology is the study of social behaviour within a society. Technology study within sociology can examine how technology affects cultures, social organizations, and social relationships, but also how individuals, groups, and organizations use and modify technologies for their own purposes. Sociology also measures the uneven use of technology among social groups. The sociological impact on how technology is creating a family divide can be seen as the incredibly different environments children and their parents had both grown up in. Children are spending more time on social media putting a strain on our mental health which parents of a certain generation cease to understand. Parents and children both growing up in different environments creates a strain on the overall connections of a family as children feel they cannot relate to their parents, therefor they cannot confide in them. In todays day and age media culture, which refers to western society being under the influence of mass media, is at an all time high. Our environment is increasingly wired, sensor-filled, and digitally connected, and this trend will only ever continue to grow; this leaves the question of will the family connection continue to divide if technology continues to advance? As stated by ___ “In previous generations, if children wanted to be in touch with a friend, they had to call them on the home phone which might be answered by a parent. Thus, parents had the opportunity to monitor and act as gatekeepers for their children’s social lives”, this quotation relates back to the stated anthropological points as because of the cultural divid created by media culture, parents are losing authority over their children technological lives. overall, Media culture is ever changing putting a large strain on the family dynamic through different times in cultures creating a feeling of disconnection and non-communication through parents and their childrens daily lives.
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In summary, technology is making a significant impact on the way families live in todays day and age. Some may argue the beneficial aspects of technology on family culture but the cons clearly outweigh the pros. Technology has an effect on the division of a family dynamic; anthropologically, through children growing up with lack of respect for parents while parents are struggling to enforce rules set boundaries over technology, psychologically, through parents and childrens dependancy on phones creating a lack of communication which leads to the rises of mental illness in the 21st century, And finally, sociologically through examining the environment and society in which showed that both parents and their children had grown up in completely separate environments, creating a lack of understanding within the family. Technology is only ever changing and will continue to just become a more significant part of our daily lives, which leaves one incredibly lingering question; because technology is growing, will the family divide grow along with it, or will it subside as 21st century parents already have technological pasts?
- Nicolau, S. (2015, January 15). Why It’s Important to Spend More Time with Friends and Family
- Retrieved from http://www.blog.daydesigner.com/important-to-spend-time-with-friends-and-family/
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