Rich kids being raised in tech captivity, says psychologist

Who are the kids most likely to experience risk-taking in the online world, rather than in the real one? And who are the kids increasingly seeking clinical help? The children of the wealthy, it seems.
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer
Asian teenage boy using smart phone on the MRT

Kids who have everything may disappear into the internet's ether.

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It's not easy being rich.

At least that's what rich people often tell me.

It's so tiring managing all the things you have and buying all the things you still covet

It's painful trying to decide what to do next. There are so many possibilities, after all.

And then there are your kids. You have to encourage them to study and, if you fear they won't make it to a school you can tell your friends about, you might have to find a school with a very friendly water polo team.

Could it be, though, that these rich kids' minds are the ones being most warped of all? By technology, that is.

I only ask because of a fascinating speech given by Professor Tanya Byron, a psychologist who was, untill recently, Chancellor of the UK's Edge Hill University.

As reported by the Telegraph, Byron was speaking to the Parent Zone Digital Families Conference and offered some pulsating thoughts.

She explained that, in her experience, it's the kids of wealthier families who are the most "teched-up."

Ergo, she said, these "cosseted and protected" kids end up disappearing into the online ether more than most. The result is that their risk-taking is performed online, rather than in the real world. Another result is that Byron sees more of these rich kids in search of clinical assistance.

She described their experience as being "raised in captivity" -- a touching description of a world gone slightly demented.

It seems that when you can have all the gadgets in the world, you end up owning all the gadgets in the world.

Once you do, you may end up live inside those gadgets rather than, perhaps, borrowing mom's Porsche for the evening. Well, that driving thing looks scary.

Byron, though, pointed to another aspect of modern life that seems to encourage this peculiar level of self-isolation among the young and wealthy. Their hovering parents have sent them there.

She said parents are so keen on being their kids' friends that they find it hard to encourage them to step back from their technology.

She explained: "The number of times I hear parents saying 'I can't get the phone off them, oh, but they'll get angry with me' -- well, welcome to being a parent."

This is clearly a grave issue, one that has been festering for some time.

There are, of course, wider mental implications emerging from the notion that the rich have the most tech toys -- and likely the fanciest.

What happens when chips are available to be inserted into heads -- chips that do a lot of thinking for you and help you appear far more intelligent than you actually are?

It'll be the rich who will likely get them first.

If you think society is unfair now, you might be even less moved by a world in which the rich not only have all the nice things, but actually appear to be smarter than everyone else too.

That's surely many people's very definition of unbearable.

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