Digital Addiction To kids
The 21st century is a century of technological advancements. There are at least 5 electronic devices in a 10-meter radius at 70% of the time. Children are very very likely to get addicted to electronic devices. Electronic devices are a bad influence on children and can affect them more negatively than you think.
Children are getting addicted to technology at ages as low as 4. For most parents conversations such as these are increasingly becoming a reality:
Parent: So how was school today?
Child (watching youtube videos, earphone in place): No response
Parent ( increased pitch): Did you get any homework
Parent (yanking the earphone away): Sit to do your homework
Full blown tantrum begins to brew…… not a pretty picture is it?
Is digital addiction even real? Is it just a myth spread by overprotective parents?
One in three children are using tablets and phones before they can talk
The rise in gadgets is being attributed to the rise in technology addiction
Addiction in children can interfere with their sleeping patterns and eat
Signs include withdrawal symptoms and a rise in devious behavior.
Experts explain how to impose a ‘digital detox’ if a parent is concerned
How do you know if your child is already addicted to digital equipment?
1. Increase In Lying or a Rise In Devious Behaviour
This includes concealing the extent to which they use their devices, hiding them or using them in bed without your knowledge.
2. Withdrawl Symptoms
If a child appears tense or upset when they can’t get online, and this feeling noticeably goes away when they are given their devices, they may have a problem.
3. Mood Swings and Argumentative Behaviour
Another sign to look for is if the amount of time they spend using devices increases. if they ‘become very sensitive when any concern is expressed about their technology usage to the point it can easily escalate into an argument. At this point you know they’ve gone in too deep to stay calm about their addiction.
Violent behavior related to the loss of screen time, similar to an addict who has been denied their drug of choice.
5. Loss of interest
Loss of interest in activities that previously held their attention, including refusal to participate in activities that were previously enjoyed.
If you’re struggling with how to control your child’s exposure to digital media, there are several steps you can take to step down the addiction and help your child have more normal brain development.
1. Set ground rules
First of all, it’s a bad idea to hand an infant or toddler your phone just to shut them up and keep them busy. Since it’s impossible to set ground rules with a toddler for whom logic is an utterly foreign concept, try keeping track of how often you hand them your phone or iPad and for how long they have it. Try keeping it to 30 minutes a day, at most.
2. Give and take
You can also create a barter system for screen time. If your child wants to spend an hour or more with their device, ask them to spend the same amount of time, doing something productive and good for them like learning something new or playing. If they want more screen time than their originally allotted amount, have them do extra chores, a special project or even volunteer work (preferably with you by their side).
3. Don’t just limit media use
Find activities to replace it. And be creative about it. Ratner and his family enjoy homegrown cabarets as entertainment at their family gatherings, also go to professional storytelling events and such.
4. Find ways to make technology habits productive
A technology obsessed teen might be finding a passion. Channel that and put it to work. Enroll that kid in learning and educational channels and sites, it isn’t about restricting access to a computer; it is about educating our kids about what a computer is for, what it’s capable of.
5. Be O.K. with the backlash that comes with setting parental limits
This is one of those simple and timeless parenting principles. Find which rules work and stick to them. Don’t cave to slammed doors and sucked teeth. when our children shout their demands and complaints at us, they are rehearsing to get their way in the world. Parents are the easiest and safest targets for them to practice on. Don’t give in to their tantrums.
6. Replace the virtual world with the real world
Replace as much screen time with outdoor play time or physical sport. Outdoor play is vital. It is how evolution has primed human children for healthy development. It leads to physical, social, emotional and cognitive development.
Children need to be able to run, jump and climb. They are not just developing physical coordination, they are learning about the world.
Too much is at stake for both physical and mental health, for us to continue this way.
7. Pursuing alternative educational methods that don’t use screens as often as traditional programs.
Stick to conventional methods of teaching, technology is good but books are great. No fancy user interface can replace warm touches and softly spoken words. Children will find these boring at first if they’re already used to digital equipment but gradually they’ll get addicted to the good things.
8. Encourage them to play with their friends
Instead of wasting time online encourage your child to make friends. This will help them to be more social and will help them build their personality. The more time we spend on digital equipment, the more prone you are to depression and other such mental illnesses. Make sure your child has a good relationship with his/her friends, pay close attention to this because negative influence like bullying and bad language will take an equal toll as digital addiction. Let your child play with a friend at their home or yours, while they are busy with it discuss parenting tips and such with the parents if possible. Don’t force friendships on your child though, let them pick their own friends and you can gently nudge them to keep them in line if and when they start to stray from safety.