One of the prominent problems of the new-age parents is to keep a check on your kids’ screen time. Technology makes your kids smarter, giving them access to unlimited information and entertainment and we get it that it’s now an integral part of our lives. But, we cannot deny how addicted we can become to our smartphones. Kids are not immune to this addiction which is why it has now become a leading cause of worry for most parents.
But, why is spending too much time, especially unmonitored time, on the smartphones and other devices, bad for kids? Here are some of the risks:
- They become obese and have less energy to do other activities
- They get exposed to negative advertisements and propagandas (remember the Bluewhale episode?)
- They might adopt aggressive behavior especially after playing violent games
- Addiction to these devices leads to wastage of excessive amounts of time, which negatively affects their academic performance
However, once children discover the things they can do with these devices, it seems almost impossible to stop them from being glued to them, right? Well, here are some tips that might help you regulate your child’s screen time, provided you are willing to follow through on them. They may not be easy.
Lead by example– This is by far, the toughest thing to do – to use your phones as little as possible in front of your kids. Yes, we know you have work emails to reply to, calls and chats to attend to, social media feeds to check, and so on and so forth. But, moderation is the key. We don’t recommend that you put your phones and laptops away entirely but restrict the usage time. Your kids walk on your footsteps and they’re watching you closely.
Strict restrictions on time– Have fixed screen times for you and your kids, which will include watching television, using smartphones as well as working on the laptop. If you must work on something important, exceptions can be made, for example, waiting till they go to bed. But, do try and respect the predetermined schedule as far as you can.
Inculcate hobbies and interests– Make it easy for your kids to use their time in the best possible way. Introduce them to as many activities as possible such as sports, drawing, dancing, painting, skating, drama and theatre, singing and reading books! Some of these activities will stick with them, as they start enjoying them more and would want to spend more time on them.
Join in the fun and games– Make time and arrange for fun family times such as playing games before dinner and/or on weekends, indulging in outdoor sports, spending time in the nature etc. This will not only keep your children away from screens but also bring you closer to each other.
One of the negative effects of excessive screen time is that your children become distant from their parents. They spend a lot less time talking to you about the things at school as they are more entertained by their games and online shows. Needless to mention, parents these days don’t have much time to spend with their kids either. That’s the downside of technology and the so-called “fast lives” that we’re all leading.
A great way to stop this is to put aside your phones for a while and be involved in each other’s lives. Make time to talk to your children about what’s happening in their life. This will pave way for a healthy and open parent-child relationship in the long run. The more you bond with them, the more time they’d want to spend with you. And less on their screens!