There’s a lot of debate, for good reasons, around imposing consequences when kids’ behaviour doesn’t meet parents’ expectations. And when it comes to restricting their access to digital tech, there’s an added wrinkle: our kids may be able to circumvent them.
Sometimes it’s ingenuity on their part. Necessity is the mother of invention, and heaven help the obstacles placed between a child and their Minecraft time. Sometimes it’s just parental sleep-deprivation-induced stupidity… like the time I muttered my iPhone passcode out loud while unlocking the device for my son.
But I can already see that a third factor will soon come into play: the kids just plain knowing more than I do. This whole push to teach kids to code sounds like a great idea until your child roots your laptop from their Speak ‘n’ Spell.
I know, I know: we’re all supposed to be raising our kids in rural communes, and the only “devices” they should ever need are a butter churn and a sheep shear. But I’m more from the parenting school where the only response I expect to “Fetch me the switch” is “16- or 24-port?”
I drew this and six other cartoons about parents, kids and tech for Alexandra Samuel’s session at SXSW 2016, The Myth of the Family Tech Market. It’s based on her two-year study of how more than 10,000 North American parents manage their kids’ interactions with digital technology.