What Does Technology Mean for Your Child's Self-Esteem?

There’s a lot of infor­ma­tion out there on how tech­nol­o­gy, like social media, makes lives more dif­fi­cult for teenagers. But what about younger chil­dren? They may not be using social media yet, but there’s no doubt smart­phones, tablets, apps, dig­i­tal assis­tants, and oth­er tech­nol­o­gy can have a big impact on tod­dlers and young chil­dren — par­tic­u­lar­ly their self-esteem.

We’ve already looked at how tech­nol­o­gy changes the way chil­dren pay atten­tion and think. Now let’s switch gears to exam­ine how tech­nol­o­gy influ­ences what chil­dren think and feel about them­selves. This quick guide looks at the pros and cons of tech­nol­o­gy on children’s self-esteem and what par­ents need to keep in mind.

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Children and Technology: Impacts on Self-Esteem

How does tech­nol­o­gy change affect a child’s self-esteem? 


  • One of the ways chil­dren build self-esteem is by learn­ing and try­ing new things. The more they suc­ceed, the more con­fi­dence they have to try more things and the bet­ter they view them­selves. Tech­nol­o­gy gives chil­dren new ways to suc­ceed. It sup­plies pow­er­ful edu­ca­tion­al tools and the tasks to test your child’s acu­men in dif­fer­ent skills. 
  • Some of the great qual­i­ty app con­tent for kids shows the accom­plish­ments of oth­ers in a way that inspires chil­dren to try new things and do their best. This kind of con­tent focus­es on the cool things adults and chil­dren are achiev­ing, the dif­fi­cul­ties that get in their way, and how these peo­ple dig deep to over­come those obsta­cles. These types of videos are what we include in Jel­lies.


  • Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the most pop­u­lar con­tent in oth­er kids apps teach­es chil­dren to val­ue exter­nal mea­sures of self-worth. Child celebri­ty videos, for exam­ple, posi­tion chil­dren as stars who act out for the cam­era and beg for sub­scribers or likes. Watch too much and chil­dren may start ascrib­ing their own self-worth to how much of a fol­low­ing they have online or in apps.
  • Exces­sive tech­nol­o­gy use can get in the way of estab­lish­ing strong rela­tion­ships with par­ents, sib­lings, and friends. These lov­ing and secure rela­tion­ships are inte­gral to build­ing a child’s self-esteem.

What Parents Need to Know About Children and Technology

It turns out that a lot of the impact tech­nol­o­gy has on your child’s self-esteem depends on the type of con­tent they’re engag­ing with in apps and online. Tech­nol­o­gy as a whole gives your child more oppor­tu­ni­ties and tech­niques to learn and try new things that can help them devel­op con­fi­dence and self-worth. Low-qual­i­ty and inap­pro­pri­ate con­tent found in many pop­u­lar kids apps, how­ev­er, can have a far more detri­men­tal impact.

To reduce this impact, set bound­aries to make sure your child’s self-esteem isn’t harmed by their tech­nol­o­gy use. Make sure they’re only see­ing the best qual­i­ty kids con­tent. That con­tent focus­es on demon­strat­ing healthy inter­ac­tions and rela­tion­ships with oth­ers and inspires chil­dren to envi­sion all the cool things they’re capa­ble of accom­plish­ing. Also, con­sid­er set­ting a time lim­it on your child’s screen use. This makes sure your child is build­ing their self-con­fi­dence and esteem in oth­er ways — espe­cial­ly by inter­act­ing with you and play­ing with friends. 

Head on over to the Jel­lies blog for more resources about chil­dren and tech­nol­o­gy. We tack­le pop­u­lar tech par­ent­ing top­ics like The Trou­ble With Kids Video Apps and your Child’s Screen Time: Every­thing You Need to Know.