In this transitional phase of the Internet, which enforces the aping and raping of technology, saying or believing that mobile devices hold the same importance for today’s generation will be accepting the myth than reality.
The equation of balancing work life with family life becomes even more complicated with a certain responsive behaviour towards the technology. People are expected to answer the WhatsApp texts. They constantly check their emails, which makes them less focused on responding to their children.
This lack of attention could signal a more serious issue. Using mobile devices is associated with fewer verbal and nonverbal interactions with the kids. The linguistic and cognitive development could suffer because of the lack of attention the immediacy of the digital world is causing.
Compared to traditional distractions like books, mobile technology is described as much more commanding of attention that is unpredictable and requires a greater emotional investment.
But, is it really possible to raise a healthy generation in such an unhealthy environment? Of course not! There are no shortcuts to parenting, and we can’t trick human nature. As we see, the outcomes are devastating. Our children pay for the loss of well-balanced childhood with their emotional well-being. Thus if we want our children to grow into happy and healthy individuals, we need to wake up and go back to the basics.
Give them your time
Talk to them about things that matter: school, teachers, friends, cartoons, games, assignments. Teach them self-regulation and social skills: greeting, taking turns, sharing, empathy, table manners, conversation skills.
Be friends with nature
Spend one hour a day in green space: biking, running, walking, hiking, fishing or watching birds.
Teach responsibility and independence
Involve your child in one or more chores a day (folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table etc). Don’t pack your child’s backpack, don’t carry their backpack, don’t bring to school their forgotten lunch box and don’t peel a banana for a 5-year-old child. Teach them the skills rather than do it for them. Don’t over-protect them from small failures. It trains them the skills needed to overcome greater life’s challenges.
Smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, jump, or crawl with your child. Let your touch give them a sense of trust and comfort.
Nutrition and Sleep
Offer kids well-balanced lifestyle filled with what kids NEED, not just what they WANT. Don’t be afraid to say “No!” to your kids if what they want is not what they need.
Turn off your phones until kids are in bed to avoid digital distraction. Spend time in planning healthy meals for the kids. Limit the snacks and avoid toxic food.
Adequate family time
Don’t feel responsible for being your child’s entertainment crew. Do not use technology as a cure for boredom. Avoid it during meals, in cars, restaurants, malls. Use these moments as opportunities to train their brains to function under “boredom”. Have a daily technology-free family dinner. Play one board game a day with the kids.
We must make changes in our kids’ lives before this entire generation of children will be medicated. It is not too late yet, but soon it will be.