In the final episode of the Chasing Life podcast, Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks with his wife Rebecca about the lessons they have learned as parents in the age of technology. They reflect on their experiences of raising their three daughters in a world where devices and social media have become ubiquitous, and where children feel obligated to be always available. The couple observes that the norms and expectations around phone use are still evolving, and that it can be challenging to establish healthy boundaries. They also discuss the impact of technology on mental health, particularly with regards to depression in girls. While Rebecca notes that it is hard to pinpoint whether social media is to blame, she describes iPhones as a “parasite that’s destroying its host.”
The couple acknowledges that there is no precedent for what parents are grappling with, and that everyone is learning how to manage digital technology. Sanjay notes that the phone has become a parenting tool that allows for communication and multitasking on a different level, while Rebecca observes that it has made Sanjay feel constantly available. They both agree that setting boundaries and learning to switch off from devices can be a challenge, but they discuss the importance of establishing times without phones, such as during dinner.
Sanjay and Rebecca also reflect on the pressures that children feel to always be available on their phones, especially as good friends or members of their community. They note the mental strain of feeling obligated to be there for others at all times, and hope that their daughters learn to set boundaries for themselves. They also highlight the differences between their children, and how Sage has reflected on things she would have done differently with hindsight.
Overall, Sanjay and Rebecca consider the impact of technology on parenting and family life, and reflect on the lessons they have learned along the way. They note that no one knows how to be a parent in the digital age, but that sharing their experiences and learning from one another can help families navigate this new world.