‘We sit with our phones instead of talking’: UAE youth worried about tech’s impact on families

A recent bill in Florida, USA, which limits social media use for children, has also stirred discussions among experts in the Emirates

by

Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

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Published: Fri 17 May 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 20 May 2024, 6:06 PM

Despite being the driving force behind the technological revolution, UAE's youth are "concerned" about how electronic devices impact their families.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, young people expressed their concerns and opinions on how technology is changing family dynamics in modern-day society.


"Technology hasn’t been the best in uniting families. Sometimes, we sit more with our phones than talk with each other," said 19-year-old Emirati Ahmed AlBreiki. However, he is glad that the Emirati society is able to navigate through this.

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This situation also resonates with parents in most parts of the world. A recent global survey revealed 60 per cent of parents feel that the amount of time children spend using technology is affecting their time spent with family and friends.

A recent bill in Florida, US, which limits social media use for children, has also stirred discussions among experts in the UAE. The legislation bans social media access for children below 14 years old in Florida, prompting mixed responses among experts in the UAE.

Changes in raising kids

For 20-year-old Aysha AlKaabi, “technology is a definite concern”.

“We see the changes in different generations. The way my grandfather raised my father is different than the way we were raised and the way I aim to raise my kids in the future," she said.

“The question is ‘what type of knowledge do we need to prepare our children for their integration in society? We are going through incredible change, and I am not sure how children will cope with modern transformations in society. Technology is a definite concern — how much of it should we expose young children to at a young age?” she added.

Develop characters first

High school students Falah AlNahdi, Yousef AlNaqbi and Omar AlHashmi said: “We as young people should start developing ourselves and building our characters to start making an impact on ourselves and our families. This would help us enhance our community and ultimately our families."

Falah AlNahdi, Yousef AlNaqbi and Omar AlHashmi
Falah AlNahdi, Yousef AlNaqbi and Omar AlHashmi

“In terms of technology, we think that it brings us together, helps us stay connected with our families and friends and is an integral part of shaping the future of our society; although relying too much on technology regarding family relations is something we should be cautious of.”

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