Are you worried about your kid’s digital habits? Have you thought about using parental controls to fight digital obsession?
Gen Z comprises technology-devoted children to the extent that kids and electronics have become inseparable. In spite of screen time control apps, kids are intertwined with technology in one way or another.
How many of you remember the classic Vodafone advertisement from the early 2000s, featuring a full army of pugs running loyally behind a young boy? How relevant it is, even after these many years! Of course, the order has changed. Now, kids are running behind gadgets.
Screen addiction has become a critical issue that needs immediate addressing and treatment too. As mature adults, we must accept the responsibility for the rising need for a digital detoxification.
What is a Digital Detox?
A digital detox is a designated period of time when a person desists from using electronic devices that are connected to the internet.
We are dependent on electronics all the time, from entertaining us to helping us get by with daily chores. So, unplugging, even for a while might sound like torture to many of us.
What we need to understand is: digital detox is an opportunity to reduce stress and focus on the more prioritized tasks.
No matter who you are, how old you are, if you’re living in a techno-oriented 21st century, you probably need a digital detox. Let us go through how the digital invasion affects children.
Read More – Should Parents Track Teen’s Digital Footprints?
The Inevitable Effects of Digital Media on Children
A 2 to a 3-year child having expertise at handling electronic devices (which is the smartphone in most of the cases) is not something to be proud of. The torrent of digital devices proves catastrophic for your child’s physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being.
Here is a list of dangerous effects, calling for instant attention.
- Impaired Vision
Do you know your child does not reach adult levels of visual acuity until they reach the age of 4 or 5? Without considering the after-effects, parents hand over smartphones to children for their own convenience to only find their kids addicted to phones. This practice needs to be avoided at any cost.
- Raising a fragile generation
Things would be far better if indoor sports were the ones replacing outdoor activities. Unfortunately, electronic gadgets are enjoying the priority over everything else. Lack of activity leaves children feeling more fatigued and weak.
- Social Awkwardness
It is becoming quite common for children to say that they are bored. They don’t like social gatherings anymore. Spending a significant amount of time in front of the screens only gives the illusion of being in a company. All this has led to a situation where smartphones and anxiety have come closer than real friends.
Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and impulsive behavior are unavoidable hazards in such cases.
- Violent Behaviour
Sadly, children have become more aggressive, and have earlier sexual experiences. And being naïve, they derive more attention from cyberbullies.
- Confusion between ‘Reel’ and ‘Real’
People are creating an alter digital world where everything is picture perfect. Children being children are unable to recognize this, which harms their self-esteem.
Help Children to Understand the Benefits of Digital Detox
Seeing is believing, right? Nobody but parents can be ideal role models for children. Your attempt is futile if you keep pestering children to stay away from digital devices while you remain glued to the screens.
Set the right example for your kid by getting rid of phones and other gadgets. Help kids understand the need for a digital detox by benefitting from the following activities :
- Asking for a doctor’s help
Children are always in awe of doctors, particularly the younger ones. Whenever visiting a family doctor (better an ophthalmologist), ask them to explain to your child the importance and ways of taking care of the eyes; and the screen time limitations.
- Making them aware of the real-life victims of digital addiction
Every now and then we read an article in a newspaper stating how some screen dependent children faced dire consequences of addiction. Show such examples to your child, as real-life stories are the best way to establish the facts in young minds.
- Tenacious and calm approach – a half battle won
Patience is the only key that can open locked doors between you and your child. Talk to them like you would have spoken to a friend.
- Relate the benefits as something of their immediate interest
Make your children understand how digital detox would improve their sleep quality and in turn, boost productivity.
Ask them to refrain from smartphones for a while and let them see the benefits for themselves. They will realize how staying away from gadgets can bring them closer to achieving their aspirations.
6 Strategies for a Digital Detox
‘Offline is a new luxury.’ We need this jewel to be ingrained in our minds first to make it appear not like a punishment, but a treat for the family.
Smartphones are for children as televisions were for parents. Try to remember those days when you were asked to abstain from watching TV during exams.
- Declare Sunday as a ‘family day,’ when no one at home is allowed to use any digital device. You can exempt television from the list if it is proving to be too much to handle!
- Try to go offline for a few hours daily when you are at home, say it can be from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. Or an hour of the day, that does not interfere with your professional commitments and your child’s educational assignments. Remember, moderation is the key!
- Be it a picnic or a trip; if your family accompanies you, every member should stay away from devices. Ask your children to invest their time with real people instead of virtual ones.
- Designate a corner of your house as ‘Only Us’. It can be a dining area, a living room, or any place where family members can get together and discuss their day-to-day life.
- Get your children enrolled in any art/craft or sports activity of their interests. Request them to invest more time on their hobbies, and motivate them to perform better.
- Set a ‘Digital Detox Challenge’ for a time frame. When accomplished, reward your child with his/her justifiable demand getting accepted.
When all else fails, try Parental Control Software
Talking and counseling do not work the same way on all kids.
While some children easily understand the cons of screen time, others take a lifetime to accept it. For those notorious kids, parental control apps are the best way to begin. App Blocker, Screen time controls, Kiosk Mode and App Install Blocker work surprisingly well with stubborn kids.
Keeping all the solutions in mind, parents need to help children in cutting down digital addiction and instead encourage a playful gadget-free childhood.
Stay unplugged from time to time, stay sane for life