The impact of information technology

There are many factors that contribute to the difficulties that parents experience in current times. In Western societies these are to name a few: the lack of social cohesion and sense of community; the isolation of many parents; poverty and inequality; and the pressing need to maintain a livelihood in unstable economic times. However, some of the most radical changes to parenting have come from another source entirely, which is that of the explosion of information technology and the computer world. It is not simply the level and speed of communication that has been altered, but to a great extent how we think and feel, and how we conduct our relationships and the world we live in.

One of the most significant outcomes of this change is that children, young people and their parents for the first time, simultaneously have the same access to all the information that is available. This may be demonstrated by nothing more serious than the fact that children and their parents for the first time share their play interests together in the form of computer games. However, things go up a notch when both children and parents are involved in social media. The term ‘natives’ has been used to describe children who have been born into the age of information technology in contrast to their parents who have learned to use it in more recent times. This difference in itself is also significant as it gives children and young people a level of skill and capacity to control the information technology world beyond the ability of their parents and the adult world.

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