Use of cell phones and other technology - what parents need to do right now11:08 AM
I wrote a post as a concerned mom about the risks of using just a cellphone. From missing out on the real world, real relationships, addiction, obesity, there are a whole bunch of studies showing how it affects brain development in children.
Related post: Dangers of a child using a cell phone
It is almost impossible to cut usage fully, given that almost all kids have cell phones and iPads. However, it is definitely going to help be transparent with your child, and guide that using a phone or internet has it's risks. It may help a child interested in programming, for example to have a powerful computer to experiment, but they still need us to help them define limits as to what is allowed and what is not.
Here is what moms and dads can do:
- Switch off that damn phone! Throw it aside when you come home, at least for a few hours. Give them your complete attention for at least a few hours. They deserve it.
- Do not use that cell phone in front of your kids. Children learn by your actions, not your words. Children are impressionable, you are their hero. They will imitate you by action, not by what you ask them to do. If you are using the cell phone all the time, but expect them to spend just one hour, they won't understand or be willing to do it for you.
- Spend quality time with your family, indoors and outdoors. For instance, make dinners important and technology free. There is a reason so many relationships start from lunch, dinner or coffee dates. Some of the best friendships are formed over food. Why not gift your child the value of eating together as a family?
- Make sure you give your children an appreciation for nature. Take them out, talk to them, let them be active in sports. Basically, just let them be children!
- Teach them that their actual personality, is more important than a video game avatar.
- Teach them to be fit and healthy, eat well, sleep well and be physically active.
- Teach them that people on the internet may be very different than what they appear to be, and never to disclose any personal details over the internet to anyone. Teach them about cyber bullying and how to recognize it.
- Teach them the dangers of cellphone usage. Give them details, help them understand why they should limit it's usage. For instance, tell them that there are a lot of fun things in life to experience, and to try it out (if they are already addicted to it). Most people find it extremely hard to cut down phone usage, but within a few days, they realize how much time they already lost living in a virtual world.
- Chatting with strangers is a big no, but children still do it. You cannot keep your child in a bubble. And if you do, they will want to try the forbidden fruit! So instead of setting limits without reason, educate them, with reasons of the real dangers. Then, set limits.
Let me know if there is something else that could help that I did not list!