Curbing your child’s screen addiction
As much as technology has been a boon to generations, it is also a curse that makes us more dependent and easily submissive to the virtual world. Children today are more restless and on a constant lookout for dynamic entertainment. And they do find it, faster than ever, by clicking on a video or immersing in an engaging game. Rightly said, kids these days learn to use gadgets even before they know how to speak.
By over-exposing them to the virtual world, parents inadvertently push their children towards unhealthy consequences. This happens when a gadget replaces human touch to calm a tantrum, or boredom is quick-fixed with a gaming app. Smartphones have become the modern pacifier. For young children, the digital screens seem to be a magical world to explore. They constantly ask for a smartphone to go back to the “magic land”, eventually getting addicted to it.
Undeniably, smartphones and laptops open a world of knowledge too. Albeit the advantages, too much screen time comes with long-term side effects. Children are likely to become overweight and prone to lifestyle problems early in life. For such issues, parents can visit a child specialist or paediatrician to seek advice. At the same time, psychological harm such as aggressive behaviour, decreased energy level, deflecting from play and learn, social anxiety and insomnia present deeper concerns and could require specialised attention.
One must consider that for little children, imitation is a major development milestone. Parents’ behaviour and lifestyle are common subjects in role play games. Naturally, keeping a child away from gadgets would be virtually impossible if the parents are hooked on to tablets and smartphones. So as a concerned parent, what steps could you take in managing your child’s screen time?
Steps to manage your child’s screen time: –
- Be an example: If you expect to reform your child, it is important to follow certain guidelines yourself. Show your child how exciting the world outside is. Encourage them to make friends and engage in outdoor activities. This will not only set their mind free but will also make them healthy and more social. Also, introduce them to the joy of reading.
- Open their creative side: What does your child like? Art? Music? Dance? Cooking? Encourage him or her to take up related activities. Allow them to participate more in extra-curricular activities at school. If possible, be a part of their performances, take a role in their plays or join them in art and craft.
- Create tech-free zones at home: There should be zones free from all electronic gadgets at home; like a living room where everybody can come together without any interference and spend quality time together. It is very important to engage in constant interaction with your child to help them remove the feeling of isolation. Consider putting your phone on a silent mode during that time.
- Get specialized care: A little professional help could go a long way, if you are finding it hard to curb your child’s screen addiction. Consult a child specialist who will provide the right guidance on creating a healthy and wholesome growing environment for your child.
Visit our expert paediatric consultants at the CK Birla Hospital to know more.