In our everyday postmodern society, the dominance of technology has created many blurred lines between what is real and what is not. This phenomenon is called Hyperreality. Hyperreality is the inability to differentiate reality from simulated reality and many view this as a problem.
Hyperreality in particular, affects this generation’s children because most of their lives revolve around the use of technology and media. Children are unfortunately becoming more emotionally involved with their technological devices than with their parents. The average 8 to 10 year old spends nearly eight hours a day using various technological devices and media.
Essentially, screen addiction is increasingly becoming a problem that affects a child’s behavior, health, and school performance.
Even babies are experiencing hyperreality through the use of technology. A toddler that I babysit on the weekends has become so accustomed to using an iPad that when she sees any kind of screen, whether it’s a TV screen or a window, she tries to touch or swipe it, thinking it will react like an iPad.
Are parents to blame for children being affected by hyperreality? Or will Hyperreality inevitably affect our children?
Personally, I don’t think parents are the ones to blame, but they can certainly take precautions in order to ensure that their children don’t become addicted to their self-constructed hypereality.
So what precautions can parents take?
- Develop rules. Limiting technology use to a certain amount a day (i.e. 1 hour).
- Encourage technology-free activities. Plan and initiate activities that don’t require technology (i.e. going to the park, reading, playing outside).
- Talk to your child. Once children are old enough, explain the potential harm of excessive use of technology. Parents should be honest with their children once they are old enough to start making their own decisions.
- Educate yourself. Stay informed and be aware of the devises and applications that your children are using.
- Be a good role model. Children naturally look after their parents, so if children see their parents constantly watching TV and using their Ipad, this doesn’t set the best example. It’s almost important to avoid using technology as a substitute for supervision. Although in the short term this may be useful and tempting, it can be very hard to break this habit.
Even though Hyperreality can negatively affect children of all ages, it is important for parents, who are the best educators for children, to continually educate themselves as well as their children and take the necessary precautions to be sure that their children are protected.