Saturday, 29 November 2014

Technology overuse - How is it affecting your child ?

Today we are surrounded with tablets, smartphones, laptops, television and all different types of technology throughout the day. Even when you are reading this or while I am typing this we are using technology. All we talk about is today is facebook, apps, downloading and uploading.

Hats off to the marketing guys who are doing a commendable job of presenting user friendly, attractive designs of gadgets with distinguished attributes and features.

Though this technology helps me simplify my work, it also makes me think about 'How should I limit my child's use of technology?'

Lets first understand what technology overuse can do to your child. Maybe then you can decide on where to draw the line.

- Addiction : It can be bad as any other addiction issue. Kids can easily get absorbed in the world of games, videos, chats or just surfing. Getting them out of it can be a task of rehabilitation.

- Face to face communication : Interactions and spending quality time with family and peers is reduced that can cause relationship issues or emotional issues.

- Grades : Schoolwork becomes the least priority resulting in dropping of grades

- Sleeping disorder : Leads to health issues.

Ask the question to yourself  'Are we creating these technology addicts?' Indirectly we are. We introduce these gadgets to kids right from a very young age maybe when the child is below 1 year. We show them our smartphones. They learn to swipe right from that tender age. Give them an ordinary cellphone, they will not play with it as it does not swipe!

Set the limits before it is too late. Here are a few tips:
1) Family time : At regular intervals in a day, there should be time set for family discussions. For working parents it should be whenever they are at home. They should themselves refrain from using such gadgets when they are with kids. Encourage face to face communication.

2) Set a rule that for every 1 minute spent on gadgets, 5 minutes should be spent on study. Sleep time should also be proportionate.

3) Divert their minds to other hobbies such as sports , art, exercise or meditation. Encourage help with household chores.

4) Evenings should be spent on playing outside the house with friends and increase peer interactions.

Do not completely stop them from using gadgets. They need to be updated in this modern, fast moving world. Assess the situation and use your discretion. Start early, when the child is little. Help your child grow up with creative skills and imagination.