Think back to school days and the cool kids? They were probably the ones who had an edge on everyone else when it came to material possessions. They had the expensive cars and brand name clothing. The pressure to keep up with them meant longing for those possessions too.
Adults don’t spend as much energy worrying about popularity or if others like them anymore. But the reality for kids is quite different. To a kid, popularity is a contest and the stakes are often high. Kids crave social acceptance from their peers.
Today there is a new pressure … tech pressure. Just like expensive cars or brand name clothes, the pressure is on for having the latest tech devices and it can actually lead to feelings of inferiority that any type of peer pressure to conform can create.
What is Tech Pressure?
Kids today experience peer pressure differently than their parents did. One critical difference is the pressure to own the latest high-tech devices. From smartphones to gaming systems, kids today feel pressure to own the latest models with all the latest updates and if they don’t, they fear they won’t fit in.
Kids show off through their technology these days more than anything else. For a kid who is always trailing behind tech trends, tech pressure can sting just as sharply as any other type of peer pressure.
Tech pressure also sets in earlier than more traditional modes of peer pressure. The reason is simple enough. Kids are more likely to be wowed by tech at a younger age than they are to care about things like clothes and cars.
Can Tech Pressure Negatively Affect Kids?
Adolescence can be a rocky road. The desire to fit in and the fear of being left out are especially strong. Teens naturally crave acceptance from their peers as they become more independent.
For kids seeking approval, owning the latest device can seem like a surefire way to get attention. Some kids will do anything to get this attention, including stealing what they don’t have. Others may feel embarrassed by what they don’t have.
Whereas parents shouldn’t be forced to spend a fortune on the latest devices, they do need to realize that tech pressure is a real issue and it can affect kids negatively.
What Parents Can Do?
Placing restrictions on screen time, refusing to play the game of constantly upgrading to the newest model, and encouraging kids to participate in more social and physical activities are excellent ways to teach kids how to have a healthy relationship with technology.
However, kids will likely view these restrictions differently. Parents might have the best intentions when attempting to limit the amount of technology their kids use, but it’s important for kids to build their own boundaries with tech too. Rather than cutting them off from tech completely or using limits on tech solely as a punishment, parents can help kids in developing their own self-control.
Best Practices For Parents
Kids are less likely to suffer the worst effects of tech pressure if they learn to have a healthy relationship with technology. Here are some best practices for parents wanting to help their kids develop healthy tech habits:
- Use device time as a reward instead of just taking it away for punishment.
- Teach kids the cost of technology and how to save for it.
- Put down the devices down at dinner and talk.
- Limit screen time, but let kids set and adjust those limitations.
- Talk to kids about tech pressure.
- Be an example to follow.