Influence of the digital age on Christmas presents
Christmas presents are notoriously hard to get right, especially for children and even more so for teenagers. This is probably why more and more of us are resorting to gadgets as presents for our children, nieces, nephews and young friends, along with the fact that most teenagers absolutely prefer having gadgets as Christmas presents.
An interactive visitor poll on an e-commerce website in 2014 identified the top five coolest gifts for teenage boys are technology-based, and topping the list are gaming gadgets and mobile technology, ie. tablets and game consoles.
Added to this, technology suppliers churn out upgraded versions of their wares, making the technology present you bought last year completely obsolete. Social pressure plays a big part in teenagers’ wishes, so do not be surprised at their reason for wanting the latest Nintendo console or FIFA game is just because ‘all’ their friends have one.
A Telegraph article in 2013, quoting a report by the comparison service uSwitch, predicted that collectively, parents will be splashing out over £3 billion on tech gifts for their kids, spending £243 each to fulfil their children’s Christmas wishes. Nearly a fifth (16 per cent) will go even further and shell out £400 or more on tech gifts for their children this year. They go on to say that many kids will be demanding the latest gadgets, whatever their age. That is very strong language – DEMANDING – but I tend to agree, young people now expect these technology gifts and may be highly upset if they do not get one, especially at Christmas.
Should parents be giving in to the influence of the digital age despite the intense pressure? There are quite a couple of major reasons not to.
- They are really more expensive than traditional presents, even with the advent of cheaper versions. And when it comes to some gadgets, such as headphones, teenagers prefer the branded ‘Beats’ or none at all.
- Technology gifts are especially anti-social and directly contradict the Christmas spirit, which is about sharing, family, community and celebrating the birth of our Saviour, who came to unite all things.
But, on the positive side, technology gifts ensure that children stay abreast of technology trends, and are more exposed to technological advancement, which is becoming more and more the norm in our culture. Hopefully it will keep children out of trouble and, thankfully, it keeps them quiet; the flip side is when the technology then replaces the precious time needed to build a relationship with that child or teenager.
I would love to hear your views, and what presents you are thinking of getting for your kids this year.
Things to CONSIDER when buying a technology gift for your teenager
Here are a few useful things to think about when considering technology gifts for your children this Christmas:
- Does it encourage social interaction or is it isolating? Think about the board games/jigsaws that families put together at Christmas, does your technology gift replicate this? A good game in this respect is the ‘Wii Just Dance’, which everyone can enjoy with friends and family.
- Does your child or teenager have the wrong expectation for Christmas? Is it just about the present or does he (or she) have the right foundation of Christmas being about Jesus and people? If he expects a £400 gift for Christmas, what is he giving to other people? Is he as thoughtful in his giving (obviously older kids)? Think about the reason why you are buying the gift.
Perhaps you feel an expensive tech gift will make up for the long hours spent working away from the family?
- Are you just buying the latest model so your teenager can show off to his friends? Or are you buying a technology gift that is appropriate and functional?
- Is it going to be a lovely surprise, or have you been getting hints over the year of what he wants or – even worse – ‘demands’?
- Is this a gift that could help him interact more with technology as a producer rather than a consumer? Coding is set to be the language of the future. Why not help your teen become a writer rather than a reader when buying your gifts?
FIND MY MOBILE
I lost my mobile phone for a week, about four weeks ago, before I found it on the floor of my car. In that time, my one regret was that I had not installed the ‘Find My Mobile’ app for Samsung. Every smartphone comes with an app/installation that allows you to track your phone by GPS. Make sure you know what that is and how to access it.
Keno Ogbo runs Spiral Web Solutions, and can help organisations with their funding strategies. You can contact Keno on 07958 004739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org