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  • Writer's pictureOnce Upon A Mommy

What Technology Has Taken From Our Kids… And How to Give It Back

Updated: Feb 21


By Cris S.

January 9, 2024


DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU.


Technology is great in so many ways! In fact, most of us wouldn't really be able to live life productively without it at this point. But this post is not about the benefits of tech, it's about what it has taken from our kids and the negative effects that technology can have on our kids. But also, what we can do to give those things back!


What our kids lost:


1.) The ability to properly write, stamp and send a letter - With texting and social media being at the forefront of communication these days, many of us never even thought to teach our kids such a thing. We order online, pay bills online and even send messages via email.


Who writes actual letters any more? This didn't even cross my mind until one day when my oldest daughter was 16 and I asked her to put return address labels and stamps on some Christmas cards for me. She didn't know which side to put the stamp on or why we put a return address label at all. That's when the realization hit me: "Oh no! How did I miss this??"


We may not use snail mail any more, but perhaps we should each take 10 minutes of our time to teach our kids how to write AND mail a letter. The day will likely come when they actually need to use our ancient postal system!


A good idea is to buy some cute stationary specifically so your kids can practice writing a letter, stamping it and mailing it. I bought one "girly" set: (Click here) and one "boy" set: (Click here!)



2.) How to talk to people correctly: This realization hit me when my Freshman daughter told me that there was a boy she wanted to go to Homecoming with. She asked me "how should I ask him Mom?" My advice to her: "Why don't you just ask him?" Her response: "What?? No way Mom! I can't just ask him... That's not how it's done!"


Geez. I guess call me old-fashioned, even though I'm only in my 30's.


After this little revelation I decided to see where all of my older kids were at with this whole "talking to other people" thing. One thing that has definitely been lost is the art of a basic introduction. You know, "back in the day" when we would walk up to meet someone, make eye contact, introduce ourselves and maybe even shake their hand?


Yeah, that's not really a thing any more.


Speaking of eye contact, this is another important part of communication that our youth seems to have a hard time with. Why? Because everyone's faces are always on their phones. Teens talk through texts and social media, almost more than they talk face to face.





If you try to have a conversation with your teen or child, and notice that they can't seem to hold eye contact for very long or seem fidgety and not focused, have them practice their communication skills with you. This might sound a little silly, but as our kids get older they need to be able to communicate effectively, without the use of their phone.


Practice a traditional meet-and-greet with a hand shake. Work on appropriate eye contact while having a discussion. Make sure they know how to end a conversation without being super awkward.


Whether it's for a job interview, meeting the parents of a future girlfriend/boyfriend or pursuing a career, we want to make sure our kids are confident when heading out into the world. Much of that confidence will come from their ability to communicate. (And yes, my daughter did end up asking that boy to the dance.. Using actual words!)



3.) Their self esteem: Our kids get a constant feed on their phones of beautiful people, friends on out-of-this-world vacations, and people showing off just how amazing they truly are... (Yes, that was sarcastic).


This social media frenzy is enough to make any kid feel like less of a human.


"Why can't I look that good? Why can't I have that much money? Why can't I have that many likes?"


Admit it... Even as full grown adults we see the occasional post where we ask ourselves, "wow, where did I go wrong?"


Hopefully any thoughts like that are short lived, and we can sit back and appreciate everything we do have.


But our kids and teens probably dwell on it a bit more. Or constantly. Time to do a mental health check-in! One of the best things you can do for your kids is put screen time on their phones and put a specific time when all apps on their phones deactivate. Give them the evenings to be away from all the tech, all the drama and all the online exaggerations.





"Well what am I supposed to do if my phone shuts off at 7, Mom??" Oh that's easy! Read a book, clean your room, do a load of laundry, catch up on homework, bake a dessert, have a conversation with someone (you know, face to face). This forced time away from tech has been so incredibly beneficial to my kids.


I'll be honest, I think sometimes they even look forward to it. Back when we were kids, we could leave all the drama and issues at school. But these days it follows our kids everywhere they go and they can't get a break from it.


Talk to your kids regularly and find out how they are feeling about themselves. Is there anything they want to change or work on? Goals they have in mind? Remind them that they are wonderful, and give them specific reasons why they are great just the way they are. (Everyone likes being complimented). Point out things that make them special and unique. Inform them that what they see on social media is not always the whole story. People post only what they want others to see, which can sometimes be a stretched truth.



4.) Their focus: Once again, faces are in the phones. You see people's faces in their phones while they're walking, driving, out at a restaurant with their families, at the movies, in the waiting room, absolutely EVERYWHERE!


I always find it a little hilarious when we are at a restaurant and I look over to see a family out "together", yet every single one of them is on their phone.


I go to my kid's volleyball game and notice half the parents aren't even watching their kids play, because they are on their phones. (But honestly, is the movie Wall-E that far fetched??).


Educate your kids on the appropriate times and places to be on their phones. The wrong times are what you want to focus on: walking through a parking lot, driving a car, on a date, in the middle of a conversation... You get the picture. There are times when they need to focus on what's going on around them, and they can't do that if they are on their phones.



Our relationship with technology is unfortunately a very dependent one. Let's face it: We can't do much of anything without it!


If we can teach our kids to use it responsibly and don't focus their entire lives around it, we will have a generation of adults who are a little less zombied-out and more in-tune with what's going on around them.


We should all teach our kids to keep their relationship with technology in check, and maybe even do the same thing for ourselves. (Because let's face it, the first thing out of all of our mouths is "I'm not on my phone that much!" Uh huh. Don't let our human customs get lost in the history books!



Happy Parenting!


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