Parenting for a Digital Future: How Hopes and Fears About Technology Shape Children’s Lives

Everything in this world runs on a track of hope in which fears act as a, refraining hopes to get to their pinnacle. Similar is the relationship between the parents and their concerns about their children’s lives in this fast changing world. Digital parenting has played an imperative role in safeguarding the balance between the hopes and fears of parents about how technology will shape their children’s lives.

Digital Parenting is a word that so many people are not accustomed to. It is where parents keep an eye on the online activities of children. It is imperative to save children from all sorts of danger be it offline or online. With a surge in online insights, children can lead their life in a way that is harmful for them, digital parenting helps both parents and children by the means of protecting children from all the wrongs and giving a satisfaction to the parents on them having a positive impact on their children. Parenting for a Digital Future” asks how parents manage digital devices, what they should expect of them, and why these questions are so contested within families, among policymakers and in the media. Based on rigorous and in-depth fieldwork with diverse families around “digital parenting” is not only about technology, salient as this may seem. Indeed, family practices and values around technology have become a crucial means by which people explore pressing dilemmas over how to live, what constitutes well being and what “good life” to hope for.

By inviting parents to look back to their own childhood and then forward to their children’s futures, positioning parenting in relation to the risk society before showing how digital technologies intensify families’ opportunities and risks in distinctive ways. three distinct genres for “digital parenting” – embrace, balance and resist – and how these play out in terms of screen time, social inequalities, geeky families, parents of children with disabilities, and more.

Families are living through a time of significant change – including reduced welfare, greater inequality and insecurity, transformations in family structure and geography. But it seems to be the absence then and presence now of digital technologies that marks the difference, acting as a lightning rod for a host of contemporary anxieties. And it is digital technologies (unlike other social changes) that parents feel they should be able to control.

Consequently, digital has become the terrain on which we negotiate who we are – our identities, relationships, values, and our children’s life chances. This explains why parents’ anxieties and family arguments about technology are so fraught. It also raises questions about what difference the digital makes, given its particular affordances, and now that children’s lives are becoming digital by default.

But for digital parenting, parents have even fewer places to turn – a national survey shows how they can’t turn to their own parents as they can for other advice (e.g. food, sleep), and the rapid pace of technological change makes things even harder. Still, we find that, with relatively little support parents are finding their own way, often by investing in a range of non formal learning environments centred on technology (alternative/creative digital media centre, an after-school coding club in a low-income public school and, of course, the informal learning opportunities that

When we look to the future, we can’t say for sure which practices will pay off. But we show how the families most in need or already facing more risk are often those who place the most hopes in technology, and embrace it the most enthusiastically. This is especially the case for the families whose children have special educational needs and disabilities, and for some of the “geeky” families who have chosen to vote with their feet for a digital future.

Divyansh Diwedi
Divyansh Diwedi

Divyansh is a second year law student at Symbiosis Law School, Noida. He is a social activist and a writer. He aspires to be a philanthropist some day.