The other day I visited a world-class furnishing store with one of our colleague’s family and guess what astounded me! No, not the space effective modern furniture (well, they did for sure!) but their four year old boy who cozily found a place for himself on a corner couch and made himself busy with his mom’s phone in hand. “Call me when you are done!” That was all he said. I turned to his mother with a questioning look in my eyes. “Chill! Let him be! As long as he is busy with his games and cartoon, we can explore in peace.” I was also surprised when she proudly told me that her son was an expert to handling mobile phones. Well, I’m sure that is great for a kid his age having such a sharp intellect, but there are a certain things that disturb me these days. When we were this young age, it was difficult for our parents to make us sit in one place, we used to jump, run, play, and be overtly active. But these days, it is so easy for parents to calm their kids down. A small gadget called mobile phone or a tablet can completely control your kids now-a-days.
Even child counselors and pediatricians report of parents complaining their children being glued to gadgets all through the day. They get disconnected from the family or stir up a fight with the parents the moment they are dragged off their screen time. This is a serious condition in the present time called Screen Dependency Disorder or SDD. The amount of screen time is a matter of concern for parents these days.
Here is what is needed to be done; the tips come directly from some parents and pediatric counselors.
Set a screen time for your children –
Once your kids start watching a video or play a game, they lose track of time. Parents should strictly set a time limit for their kids’ screen time. If your kid is between 2-5 years, one hour of screen time if enough. If they are below 18 months, keep them miles away from any such gadgets, no matter how busy you are. Buy them constructive toys or games that will improve their motor skills.
Enroll them in a kids’ activity class or a sports academy –
Gone are those days when we used to fight with parents to go out and play with our friends. These days the fight happens for mobile phones. Parents too submit to their kids’ demands. But they often forget that how important it is for kids to involve in a physical activity. Mobile phones and similar gadgets restrict movement leading to a number of health conditions, obesity being the leading one.
Increase family time -
There is a saying, “Kids learn from their parents!”
One of the reasons that kids these days indulge in digital media because they see their parents too spending leisure hours at home either in laptops or mobiles. Try and make your home a tech-free zone. Talk to your kids during dinner or tell them stories before bedtime. It will not only improve your kids’ behavioral pattern and vocabulary but also inculcate in them the importance of family time.
SDD is a concerning problem in kids these days, talk to them and explain them the downsides. Spend time with kids whenever you are at home. Help your kids to interact socially and be physically healthy.