In this age of Internet and smart technologies, which have shrinked the world, brought us closer and have made our lives easy, we cannot deny the fact that they have their drawbacks too. Came across a very interesting whatsapp message “Smartphones have brought our distant ones closer but have distanced us from our closed ones”. How true is this!!! People are so busy with their smartphones and gadgets that they don’t seem to have time for their near ones. Gadgets have become an addiction among the young generation, right from the toddlers and young kids to 20-years-olds and above. This is not a very good sign.
These days, it is quite common to see very young children carrying their gadgets along wherever they go. Whether it is out of love or peer pressure or to compensate for the time they do not spend with their children, parents who complain about their kids’ addiction to gadgets are themselves to be blamed. We see that children as young as 2 to 8 years old have their own tablets and phones. Maybe parents provide these to them for educational interests or for games; however, the end result is that these kids are losing on their creativity, imagination and promptness. Apart from this, research studies have shown gadget addicted kids also suffer from a number of health problems.
Influences of technology on kids
- Influence on brain: An article published in Psychology Today Magazine said that the constant use of technology in the form of computer, phone or tablet actually changes the thinking process of a child, by altering the actual wiring of the kid’s brain. The time spent on gadgets changes the way their brains work, by making the brain pay attention to multiple stimuli, thereby leading to distraction and decreased memory. It is also seen, that finding information becomes easy through Internet, children are not very good at remembering it.
- Health problems: Obesity has become a common problem among young kids nowadays. Kids addicted to TV, computers and gadgets indulge less in physical activities and tend to gain weight. It is a very common sight nowadays to see very young children wearing glasses. Weak eyesight has become one of the most common problems among the kids and its main cause is overuse of gadgets. Children are also suffering from other health problems such as back pain, problems in fitness and muscle-limb coordination etc.
- Lack of interaction: Technology also affects a child’s mood. With less physical contact, children lack emotional reactions and have difficulty in developing social skills. These kids are connected more with others in the virtual world, but not in the real world. The result is that it has a bad impact on social relationships.
- Influence on thinking: Kids overdependence on technology has affected their capacity to reflect, reason, and draw conclusions. The end result is the poor academic performance of some children. Technology has a negative impact on the thinking process of the children. Observing, learning, questioning, remembering, innovating, arguing, and deciding which encompass the thinking process are all lacking in kids nowadays.
How to get rid of the problem of your kid’s’ addiction?
- Fix a specific time for gadgets: As parents, you should make your kids understand that there is a time for everything: for studies, TV, games, interaction, and time to be alone. Fix up a time for children to play with their gadgets. There might be some withdrawal symptoms initially such as mood swings, tantrums, anger but don’t fall into the trap and give in. Be strict with them for some time and gradually they will fall into place.
- Set an example for your kids: As parents, you are the role model for your children. They learn from you. So if you really want them to give up their addiction to technology, then you yourself have to do the same.
Check out below some simple activities and tips that can reduce the addiction of children to technology and make them more creative and energetic. Taking away gadgets is not likely to work in the long run if you do not provide the kids with any alternatives. Some of the ways by which you can reduce the technology addition of your kids are as follows:
- Introduce board games: There are many board games that kids can play at home. These include Chess, Chinese Checkers, Carrom, Ludo, Snakes and Ladders that parents during their childhood used to play. Now it’s time to take these out from your attic or get new ones and make them play with these games. They will surely be more alert and prompt with their mental power becoming stronger and quicker.
- Outdoor games and activities: The list is endless for outdoor activities. Right from cycling to football to cricket to running and jogging, there are many outdoor activities that can make your child more active, healthy and energetic. Ask them to feel and see the beauty of the nature during early mornings and evenings. See how slowly and steadily they begin to enjoy these outdoor games and activities.
- Organise summer camps or group activities time to time: Take the initiative as a parent to organise a summer camp or wilderness program in your community and ask other kids to participate. The kids can take part in activities that are designed to give them confidence, to develop their healthy passions, and foster social skills.
- Arts and Crafts for Kids: For kids, there are many fun-filled art and craft activities that can be undertaken at home. There are many DIY activities and decoration ideas that kids can take up which provide excellent inspiration for them to be more creative. As parents, try some of these activities with your children. In such cases, you can even ask your kid to take the help of the Internet to get some ideas on craft activities. Crafts such as drawing, colouring, and cutting help in proper co-ordination of your kids in using both of their hands together. It also helps in fine motor coordination. Completing the crafts will give them a great sense of accomplishment and plus kids will love spending time with you and creating something together!
- Instill reading habits: Reading is a very important activity that kids should develop while they are young. If you teach your child to read at a very early age, he or she will more likely develop the habit of reading. Start with comics and attractive picture stories. Start bedtime stories. Read the story aloud and explain them. Reading will not only help your child to explore many things but will also widen his horizon. If you start developing reading habits early, then reading will be instilled in the kids and they will definitely get rid of their addiction to technology. Children even in the age group of 2 to 3 years who do not know to read can develop the habit of reading as they use their senses to develop characters or behaviours just by hearing.
Technology is not the enemy but it is the way how we as parents allow our kids to adopt technology which may lead to the problem of addiction. When technology becomes a substitute for parenting, then it becomes a very big problem. The simple activities as mentioned above can surely make your child become more smart and creative. Act before it gets too late