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

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

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

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, USA, 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 and it has prompted mixed responses among experts in the UAE.

Changes in raising kids

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

“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.

“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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