“A look of quietude has befallen the play grounds,
the serene stillness played merry-go-round,
those pitter patter which trotted the freshly laid lawns are seeked,
bewitched by the gadgets, couched in their rooms, they are meeked.”
With the latest gizmos in hand, today’s children are lost in the virtual world. This is the haunting reality that every modern parent is facing. The millennials introduce their children to tablets, smartphones and other gadgets that threaten their cognitive and social development. With both the parents earning exorbitant incomes, they tend to indulge their children, to overcome their bereavement of time spent with them.
Many revel at their precious little ones’ ability to handle an iPhone or iPad. Some, proudly complain about their kids’ ability to change the configuration of their laptop or mobiles which their expert intellectual mind is unable to figure. Should we applaud or be alarmed?
As a friend of mine claimed that she manages two kids with no help, hence she is left with no choice but to turn to these gizmos to contain her ever hyper son. In such scenarios what should one do? I agree, parenting is no piece of cake or bed of roses, but when one chooses to be a parent, certain sacrifices are made to raise the kids. My sister often quotes “It’s not kids but adults, that we are raising”. So, it’s not the sacrifices, but what we choose to sacrifice that counts.
Many firms have come out with educational apps claiming to develop and enhance the logical, analytical and comprehending skills of the child. Can’t the child develop all these skills by just playing outside with a group of other children, thereby developing social skills too?
The 80’s and 90’s saw a generation glued to the television set. Slowly the trend has changed and the obsession too. One may ask so what is wrong being technologically advanced? Well everything has its pros and cons. As parents, one must see the two sides of the coins. Technology is good if it catapults the society into the mode of progression and not degression. By society I mean the individuals, the children who are our future. It should ensure that mankind evolves as better humans and not the other way around. The advancement in technology should help the society and propagate love and harmony.
As a teacher, I’ve observed that many children have developed a stoop because of prolonged gazing over the tablets or smartphones. Bad posture equals laziness and lack of concentration. I, also noted that the kids are unable to think out of box. They are fed with information which leads to redundant brain. They have become more materialistic and clueless about priorities in life. Children, who are exposed to such gadgets at an early age, have been known to exhibit behavioural problems – Sleep deprivation, technology addiction, eating disorder, violent behaviour – to name some.
Below are some suggestions that could be incorporated with your parenting techniques. Remember they are not the solutions to all the issues, as each child or parent is different.
- Be a parent – as, you chose to be one – The concept of parenting is losing its meaning in today’s world. Earlier it was the kids who obeyed orders, and now it’s vice versa.
- Give the child importance only where and when it requires – first and foremost is to stop with the indulgence. Don’t keep your child in the limelight all the time.
- Be consistent with your instructions – never waiver when drawing rules in the house.
- Involve your kids in the house hold chores. Make your children a part of the family, not the centre. They should be assigned chores according to their age. Like picking toys, making their bed, laying the table or taking the trash out.
- Set rules like ‘You mess up, you clean up’. It’s very important to make them clean up after their mess.
- Don’t make decisions for them, but help them to make it. Build in them the ability to decide for themselves even if it means selecting a toy or a dress.
- Minimal use of the gizmos – Give a time limit for it. Also, a day off in a week from all electronics for the entire family. Spent some time together playing indoor games.
- Encourage outdoor sports activities. It not only builds up physical stamina but also boosts social development. Children will learn to face failure or success in a competitive spirit.
- Read a story together before going to bed. If they are not interested in stories then just sit and talk to them. Nothing like a good conversation. Share your experiences of the day.
- Let them make mistakes and face the consequences. Never cover their faults and try to protect them. This will make them emotionally strong and teach them to be honest.
- A computer or tablet should be used only if they require it. It should never become the means to drive boredom.
- Talk about both negative and positive effects of using the tablets and mobiles. That includes cyber bullying and threat to personal information.
- Don’t make the internet their only source to seek information. Turn their attention towards books like encyclopedia. If you are not able to provide it, well, our good old libraries still exist.
You can make a difference in your kid’s life. It’s never too late to start making changes. Let’s raise an ideal citizen, a kind human and an independent and bold individual. Rather than stopping them from using the modern-day gadgets, teach them to use it responsibly.