Our world today is at the highest peak of technological advancement. And it is a blessing to our everyday living. It pushes mankind forward into the future. However, like a coin that has two sides to it, it is also a curse. Smart phones have completely revolutionized the way communication is perceived these days. Instant messaging, internet and a zillion apps have taken the entire world in its grip. People, irrespective of their age group, have started valuing this “wonder of technology” more than their friends. The most affected segment of the population is the younger generation who has become a victim of smart phone addiction. Parents, in this digital era, have a significant role to play in regulating the number of hours their kids spend on phones.
When kids ignore their friends and everyone else, disregard calls and messages from their parents and continue playing on their phone or even act irritated and behave aggressively when their phone is taken from them, parents need to take steps because their kid might have formed an addiction to smart phones.
Using the results of their study to reflect a national consensus, the experts estimated that 600,000 children show signs of smart phone addiction. They found that while 70 per cent of primary school kids are using smart phones for more than half an hour a day, only ten per cent of kids were monitored when they did so.
Scientists even found that the use of smart phones caused disturbances to young people’s sleep and feeding patterns. Kids in junior school demonstrated speech development and attention issues.
“Children who are left alone too early in the virtual world can develop health problems as a result,” said Marlene Mortler, the federal commissioner for drug-related issues. “Some become hyperactive or aggressive and, in others, it can lead to internet dependency.”
Ways to deal with smart phone addiction with children
Discuss limits and boundaries
Call a family meeting to come up with a smart phone plan, says Bell. Work with your kids to choose some appropriate times to use mobile devices—perhaps after homework and chores are completed—and decide how much time per day is acceptable.
The family can establish some rules as follows:
- No smart phones on the dining table.
- Turn off smart phones before sleeping.
- Hand over the phone during tests or exam weeks.
- No finished home works, no smart phones.
By creating rules like these, children will learn to obey rules and be more responsible even at a young age. Also, parents can limit their phone usage by getting limited internet packages and monitoring their kid’s activities on their phones.
Once you’ve set the terms, stick to them—parents included. “You have to be a good role model,” says Bell. “Kids learn media habits from adult role models and the research is telling us that’s bad news.” The better news is research shows that just having household rules in place will make everyone more likely to follow good habits.
Be role model to your children
I have heard about a number of cases where parents themselves are so much occupied by their cell phones that warning their kids against its use seems to be a futile practice. Parents are the first role models that a child has. If parents also indulge in phones for long hours, the children are bound to emulate this habit of theirs. It is advisable for parents to stay away from phones as much as possible so that they have a good example to present. If, however, your profession demands a lot of phone
usage, do it when the kids are out to play. You wouldn’t like to be blamed for triggering that bad habit in your child.
More healthy engagements
Today’s kids have forgotten how to enjoy their childhood. They are more interested in staying indoors glued to their phones. If this is the case with you, it is time to take charge of your kids. Motivate them to play outdoor, engage them in physical games
like cricket, soccer, tennis or any other activity the child may love to explore. Go out for a walk in the park, play puzzles, jigsaws, blocks, engage in healthy discussions, reading time, creative activities like painting, DIY, clay molding, music, dance etc.
The bottom line
Technology is a blessing. There is no denying that fact. Parents cannot tell kids to stop using smart phones. After all, parents as adults even need and use it for their own benefit. Parents can, however, stop their kids from being addicted to it by setting an example and having a careful and thorough explanation as to why there is a need to limit their phone usage. By following the tips above and to make them understand the negative side of smart phone addiction, parents can raise their kids to be more responsible and successful.