Almost everywhere we go, we notice a child glued to a screen, whether it’s sitting at a restaurant or shopping through Target. A mother this week went viral after she urged parents not to raise “iPad kids” and regretted raising her 12-year-old like this.
The video features TikTok user Shae Johnson (@northandstate). She started off by stating how she found a clip of a 20-year-old pleading with Gen Z not to raise these so-called iPad kids. Consequently, “iPad kids” can’t “make eye contact” and “don’t know how to read.” Then, she shared how she raised her 12-year-old as an iPad kid.
Johnson had her first kid at 24, she said. As a busy mom who was working as a waitress and didn’t know “what the hell” she was doing, ss soon as she could, she would often give her child a phone.
“It started out with me giving him my phone because I would wanna just get through Target or get through the store,” she said.
It progressed to her downloading YouTube Kids despite not knowing “exactly sure what he was watching.” Afterward, the content creator bought him a toddler tablet. As a result, “he’s a full-blown screen kid.” After having her second child, she refused to give her the same technology. Looking back, Johnson believed she made a “mistake” with her first. In addition, she’s noticed how it’s negatively affecting other kids.
“I noticed it a lot with, um, seeing other kids and seeing how they behave,” she stated. “And seeing how they cannot get through Target. They cannot get through the store. Parents can’t get any time in by themselves without putting a screen in front of them.”
Now, Johnson wishes she could go back and not give her oldest technology. “Just learn from my mistakes and keep that kid away from the iPad as long as you can possibly can,” she concluded the video.
The Daily Dot reached out to Johnson via Instagram direct message and TikTok comment. The video garnered over 13,000 views and viewers had mixed thoughts.
“We used to only allow educational games like abc mouse and teach your monster to read! They have more freedom now that they’re older but I think it’s always important to try and find a good balance,” one viewer wrote.
“I think a movement needs to be started around this, I hear everything you’re saying and you’re not wrong,” a second commented.
“I have 4 kids and they got their tablets at 9? Rarely do they use them. Old flip phone for my middle school age kids too. Smart phones later,” a third stated.
Viewers also noticed how technology has negatively affected kids.
“it’s true tho! my sister’s kids 12 yr old twins and 13 old. all 3 have issues socially, & academically,” one user noted.
“Yes! Teacher here,8th grade. Each class I have 3-5 kids who cat put their phones down. it’s an addiction. They don’t realize they can’t put it down,” a second shared.
According to National University, “When kids spend a significant amount of time on social media, it can lead to lower self-esteem. Teens are seeing curated content, a digital highlight reel, which can lead to distress due to teens comparing themselves to their peers. In general, technology use can cause social and behavioral problems in children because it minimizes the amount of time kids spend interacting with others.”
The website continued, “Electronics, like smartphones and tablets, make it harder for people to concentrate and easier for people to be distracted by constant sounds and notifications. According to a research study in Canada, since technology use increased (around the year 2000) the average attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to eight seconds.”
Update 4:12pm CT, Nov. 20: Johnson told the Daily Dot really started to notice the negative effects at the onset of the pandemic.
“In 2020, when he was 8/9 I noticed it the worst because he would be in front of a computer for distance learning,” she shared via Instagram direct message. “Then wanted to be rewarded with gaming time and it was really upsetting to me for such a kid to be in front of a screen for that long.”
When her 3-year-old was born, the content creator said she knew she didn’t want her daughter to have one.