Information technology is the study and use of computer systems to store, retrieve, transfer or exchange data. Technology has brought about change and has impacted family, elderly and parenting issues in both positive and negative ways. Although information technology is known to bring about speed, convenience and so much more, there are ethical and privacy issues introduced with the use of information technology.
One of the many ways in which information technology impacts family lives is through stronger communication. Communication is said to have become effective, convenient and stronger in families with the use of technology. From the use of mobile devices to send quick text messages, emails to webcam, Instagram, Facebook, Skype to maintain long distant family relationships and communications. For example, with WhatsApp, families can communicate via facetime videos and direct message one another across the world. This is great for families to effectively communicate without cost. Parents can get in touch with their kids in time of emergencies. For instance, Apple iPhone offers the location tracker to help send locations. This is a fantastic way for parents to monetize and track their children in times of emergencies. Group text messages are created to keep communication lines open between substantial amounts of family members. Important and special moments are captured with the use of phone video recordings and shared between family group text messages.
The use of technology in the home is common and increasing. 75% of children watch television and 32% watched videos/DVDs for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes on average (Vandewater, Rideout, Wartella, Huang, Lee, & Shim, 2007). For instance, newborns begin to watch cartoons on devices such as the phones, iPads and even television. It is used not only to keep a new born entertained but to also help begin their learning and education journey. Computers and Internet are also learning tools for students. Students can conduct research for their research and term papers without the need to go to a library.
Technology has made significant impact on elder care in so many ways. It does not only provide convenience but also protection for the elderly. Wearable devices such as Apple Watch, Personal Alert Systems and UP app by Jawbone are known to kelp monetize patient and the elderly’s health. The personal alert system is a wearable electronic device used by the elderly to call for help in times of an emergency. For the ‘age in place’ elderly person, who insists on aging in their homes and refuses to live in a nursing home, this device will not only provide protection but also convenience in reaching out for help in one click of a button. Apart from devices created for convenience in case of emergencies, there are robots created for the convenience of senior living. Vacuum robots are one of the many types of technologies created to help make life convenient. To eliminate physical and manual labor for the elderly, vacuum robots are suggested to help with home cleaning. Ecovacs Robotic Vacuum is an autonomous robot cleaner with a mop and water tank that can easily vacuum and mop the entire home of an elderly person at the touch of a button. Another type of remote monitoring technologies that renders protection for the elderly are pacemakers for the heart and diabetes pumps. Diabetes pumps are used to check the blood sugar levels daily to help avoid further health complications in the elderly. Without this monitoring tool, it is difficult to avoid possible health issues and even death.
As technology continues to be beneficial for the youth, it is also beneficial for parents. Parents can work from home while nurturing their children. They are also able to run businesses from home without the physical demand to be in an office setting. With technology, parents can be involved in their children’s education life. Parents can set reminders on their phones for parent teacher conferences amidst busy work days. Although technology brings about convenience for parenting adults, it can also cause some parenting issues. “Parents are constantly feeling like they are in more than one place at once while parenting. It is much harder to toggle between mom and add brain and other aspects of life because the boundaries have all blurred together”, says Jenny Radesky, MD. With technology, parenting becomes difficult because parents are unable to switch off work and social life mode while focusing on parenting. They are joggling assisting with homework’s while responding to work emails and replying a Facebook message. This causes frustration for a parent maintaining balance at home and other areas of their lives. In addition, the bond between parents and their children are weakened with the use of technology. With children spending long hours watching television and teenagers becoming addicted to their phones, parents diving into work away from work on the computers, parents are unable to provide adequate concentration to their children. Bonds are weakened and sometimes broken due to the attachments to technologies.
Technology introduces the issues of depression in teens, social anxiety and exposure to online dangers. Teens are easily exposed to cyber bullies, predators and scam artists when parents are not monitoring the use of technology. Studies show that teens spend a minimum of 6 hours a day on social media making it difficult to communicate and socialize with the real world which leads to depression. The inability to maintain strong social skills arises when teens are unable to detach from social media and trust in the social media world over the real world. “Sixty percent of mental health providers reported having treated at least one patient with a concerning Internet experience in the past 5 years with over 50% of those being less than 18 years of age” (Assem. Bill H-R, 1996, 2009). Teen depression caused using technology will continue to grow if proper parental care isn’t offered at home.
Technology poses many ethical and privacy issues in families and elderly care. Some ethical issues that technology imposes on families are infidelity issues in marriages. Adults in a marriage or relationship become hooked on to social networking relationships. Infidelity issues arise when someone steps out of their marriage and holds a relationship with an individual on the other end of the computer. There are online messaging and sex video chatting that occurs. Along with ethical issues such as infidelity comes privacy issues. The government can have access to all personal transactions and information transmitted via technology devices. Although, this provides protection to the community, the issue of little to no privacy exists.
In conclusion, information technology can be both harmful and helpful to individuals. Technology is here to stay. It is here to make the way of life easier and efficient with proper use. With the baby boomers growing old, technology will become more of a necessity for the elderly. It will continue to be a way of life that is beneficial with the proper use.