Parents around the world are alarmed at the 21-century digital epidemic. The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted research the results of which shocked the scientific community. It turns out that modern children spend an average of 7 hours a day in front of the screen! More than 50% of two-year-olds in America use gadgets daily. And 75% of teenagers have their own smartphone with unlimited Internet access. Approximately half of the British teenagers admitted that sometimes they use messengers to communicate with their parents even when the whole family is at home!
Pediatricians sound the alarm and strongly recommend reducing daily screen time. Digital addiction causes insomnia, depression, and sudden violent outbursts. Addiction negatively affects health and school performance. Kids lose a sense of time in virtual reality and don’t feel tired. As a result, their body is stressed and performs at the limit. What is more, the child’s focus and ability to think dramatically decreases. Kids become irritated and aggressive.
Sounds terrible, right? It’s not surprising that the world technological elite protects their children from gadgets. Bill Gates, for example, forbade his kids to use smartphones, and Steve Jobs limited the use of Apple products.
What happens if I take all the gadgets away from my child?
Anger, aggression, strong resentment, and broken trust. Put yourself in the shoes of a child: facebook, twitter and instagram are their social life. You can’t take it away out of the blue. Think what would happen if you were to limit your own screen time. I’m sure it won’t be an easy task. Your work, friends, shopping, contact details — everything is inside your phone!
What should I do then?
Parents often forget that children have rights. Not only rules to follow. First step is to forget about the prohibitions. Kids will violate them anyway. Clear rules and screen time limits should be your methods.
Offer a tangible alternative
What’s missing from social media and video games? — Physical sensations. There is no live communication, no smell, and no tactile sensations in the world of virtual reality. Offer your child a physical-oriented activity. It can be anything: sports, hiking, needlework or board games. The only condition is to do it together! Keep in mind that modern children lack emotional communication.
Use gadgets for educational purposes
Have you ever thought that you can easily convert screen time to learning time? Reading, math, logic, arts – there is a huge number of apps on the Web. However, it’s important to choose the right one. Nicola Read2Play cultivates in children a love of learning, as all the information inside the app is presented in the form of a game. Try it for free here.
Help them find a hobby
We all need a hobby to be happy and feel alive. Unfortunately, some children find it difficult to make a choice in favor of a single activity. Help your kids discover what they are most interested in: music, painting, sports, science. Don’t forget that a proper hobby reveals talents, makes a child more self-confident and raises self-esteem.
It will be easier for the child to follow the rules if you apply them to the whole family. Try to be an example for your kid! I’m sure you need digital detox as well. Organize gadget-free areas at home. It can be a living room, bedroom or kitchen. Keep in mind that the rules are the same for everyone!
Get a pet
Getting a pet is a great idea! An animal is a friend, a kind of support for a child. Communication with pets develops responsibility, improves self-esteem and gives children psychological comfort. In fact, pets are great at helping with social adaptation.
All these tips are good but the best recommendation is to communicate with your kids. Perhaps, family support is the best solution against digital addiction.