Don't Let Technology Desensitize Your Kids

by KidSafe Foundation Sally & Cherie

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As technology continues to develop at a breakneck pace and with the recent death of the brilliant and innovative Steve Jobs, I found myself pondering the incredible advances that have been made since I was born in 1967.  

In today's world, our lives are techno and if you’re not in it or on it, you’re just not with it. 

Not only can we talk to our friends and family near and far, we can video chat, send a quick text, remember someone’s birthday thanks to a pop-up reminder on Facebook and tweet our innermost thoughts out to millions of users…it truly is amazing!!!

But as with all good things, there are also risks - and when it comes to technology, that risk is an increase in the number of children being abused as well as more children acting out violently. The ease with which abuse can now take place is startling to those who work in the world of child safety. Predators are mistakenly welcomed into our homes through our children’s use of games and the Internet. Children are also crossing boundaries on their own, participating in behavior like videotaping themselves bullying another child and then uploading it on YouTube. The filter of right and wrong or appropriate vs. inappropriate seems to be gone for many of our youth - our future leaders of tomorrow.

As a result, I think we're all becoming desensitized to child abuse and bullying. It's hard not to when it's right in front of our eyes every day, every minute, every second. If you continue to see heartache and human suffering, at some point your mind will have to compartmentalize the horrors; it's a basic survival mechanism. But instead of becoming numb to this problem, I'd ask you to take a deep breath, stop what you're doing and consider the kind of world we are creating for our children. Is this how we want our children to act?  Do we want our children to just walk by the homeless person on the street without a care? Or hear about a girl set on fire by another student and not even give it a second thought?

If we allow ourselves and our children to become desensitized to human suffering, then the bullies and the predators of this world are winning. So what can we do? How can we make this world a better place when technology makes it so easy for people to harm children?

We can punish the offenders -but instead of relying solely on the old saying, "an eye for an eye," maybe we could look at this problem in a different way. What if every time you read or heard a story about abuse, you and your children went out and did something good for someone in need of help? By giving back, by doing good, and by surrounding yourself and your children with people who are charitable and philanthropic, you can make a difference in our world. That is how we can combat the bad. And as parents, we need to model this for our children. That’s the key to tipping the scales to help the good guys win!

If you're not being a good role model or you aren't taking the time to discuss the negative and inappropriate things they see and hear about on a daily basis, how can they understand the difference between right and wrong? How will they learn to be part of the solution and not part of the problem?

So if you're reading this and you too are apprehensive about the ways that we are becoming desensitized to human suffering - make a list of things you can do with your child to make the world a better place and then do them! Do it when you hear a terrible news story, do it once a week, once a month, every holiday - whatever works for you and your family.

The more we give back, the more we choose to do the “right” thing, the more we empathize with others and try our best to be our “best,” the better chance we have to be a positive influence on our children - helping them to understand the world they are exposed to and raising future leaders we can be proud of.

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