Life Style

Are connected watches hindering children’s empowerment?



Emilie, 10, received her first connected watch for Christmas, in 2019. With a pink dial as large as her wrist, it is used to inform her parents of her movements and to contact her girlfriend to meet at the park. “After the nanny left, Émilie had to go to the dance alone, and we found her too young to have a cell phone. The connected watch, which a friend had told me about, seemed to me a good compromise, at a lower cost (1) ”, says her mother Véronique, reassured to be able to communicate with her daughter from the office, despite some cold sweats: “At the beginning, the touch screen being sensitive, the SOS function was triggered often and it stressed us. But since then, Émilie has been careful. “

Connected watches are part of a myriad of technological accessories that are part of the daily life of families: geolocation application on the mobile phone, GPS beacons slipped into children’s clothes or schoolbags, such as these coats launched by the brand. Gémo in 2014… These new tools raise the question of monitoring children. For the psychologist and psychoanalyst Michaël Stora, such “gadgets” can invisibly nourish pathological links: “Saying ‘I trust you because you are geolocated’ is not healthy. When parental concern invades the realm of emotional relationships, it can have negative repercussions. Paradoxically, this can lead to risk taking: the child thinks that he must worry his parents in order to be loved. “

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Second perverse effect: this overprotection can generate anxiety in the child, or even lead to a social phobia, the outside world being perceived as full of dangers. Parents have nothing to gain either, according to the psychologist: “This over-attention reveals their own weaknesses and exhausts them. “

► Our opinion

A virtual thread, connected watches appear to many parents as a practical tool that facilitates the organization of daily life and extracurricular activities. But paradoxically, they can help fuel their concerns and slow down the empowerment of the child, under permanent parental control. Educated in the main safety rules, pre-teens need to experience their freedom step by step to grow. And, after all, previous generations did not have these technologies, while the outside world was no less dangerous …

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