Side effects of too much technology

Advice on raising a daughter in this high-tech generation


Snap Chat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube: Basically, if your teen is awake, they're either texting, tweeting, chatting, messaging or at the movies. In fact, a new survey reports kids spend more time with media than they do with their parents or in school, clocking in seven hours and 38 minutes a day either in front of a TV, behind a computer screen or glued to their phone. So what is a parent to do?

"I monitor everything she does. She says it's nosey I say it's being a parent," said Gwendolen Mazyck.

Mazyck is raising a daughter in the digital age.  Twelve-year-old Miyyah is a model, actress and singer.  She is growing up in a connected world that is not always safe.

"Raising our daughters requires mom to be honest about what time it is in this high pressured, very sexual, and highly competitive technological age we're in," said girls' empowerment specialist and life coach Caryl Lucas.

Lucas specializes in improving the relationships between mothers and daughters. She believes to raise a productive, independent daughter in this hi-tech world, mothers need to raise a daughter who knows who she is and what she wants to be.

"A mother's essential role is to begin designing her daughter's self-esteem and self-worth, from the cradle until she becomes a woman," said Lucas.

It can seem like an uphill battle. Teen girls spend 30 hours a week in front of a screen. On average, they send a hundred texts a day but how is all this media affecting them? In the largest study of its kind, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that kids who spent more time with media reported grades of a C or lower and were more depressed than their peers.

But how do you get your message through all the noise? First off, kids emulate what they see. Put your phone down and talk to your child. Model body acceptance, don't focus on the perfect woman you see on TV or in a magazine, focus on being healthy. Direct your praise away from appearance and more onto accomplishments.

Don't raise your daughter as a pleaser. Encourage her to stand up for what she needs and wants. Let her choose, even if you think the choice is wrong. Also, be involved in her life.

"And not a spectator on the outside looking in," Lucas added.

And most importantly, don't do all the talking.

"I listen to her. I allow her to speak her mind," said Mazyck.

She encourages her daughter Miyyah to find her own voice. Miyyah formed a singing group, called Lil Divas in the City. They sing about anti bullying, cyber bullying and other prevalent problems for kids today.

"People have called me fat and dumb," said Miyyah.

The bottom line is that moms can make a difference. Parenting in the 21st century means paying attention to everything our children are doing online, on their phones and with their friends. Your involvement can actually have a profound and positive effect. 

Also, when your children are doing their homework or reading, turn off the TV and music. Studies show that when a child is multi-tasking, it affects their attention and retention of information.