Most parents want to raise kids who are smart and focused, but it feels like a big challenge today with digital distractions everywhere. We limit their screen time and try to monitor what they’re watching and playing online, but there’s something else we should be teaching them, according toNir Eyal,an instructor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business who teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology and business.
Eyal says in the future, there will be two kinds of people in the world: Those who let their attention and lives be controlled and coerced by others and those who can proudly call themselves “indistractable.” He says that becoming indistractable is the most important skill for the 21st century, but it’s one many parents aren’t teaching their children. The biggest mistake he sees parents making is not empowering their kids with the ability to control their own time. And even though the kids may fail sometimes, he says that’s okay because it’s how they learn to manage their own time and attention, which will help them succeed.
So how do we go about teaching our kids to be indistractable? Eyal advises starting when they’re young and letting them have input about their screen time. He says the important thing is that they help set up the rules for their screen time and they’re in charge of enforcing them. He’s found that having the kids’ input keeps them from being resentful or trying to cheat the system. Distraction is a problem our kids will face and if we make them aware of it and reinforce the belief that they can overcome it so they can use their time wisely, they’ll be better off in the future.