When I was 5, the most sophisticated piece of technology we had was a black and white TV set with manual knob to change the channels and adjust the brightness. Now, my 5 year old is now witnessing a high-tech era with ever new technologically advanced gadgets facilitating our lives, of which the most trending and the most handy gadget is the smartphone. It is absolutely changing the way we live, influencing the way we behave and altering the way we think. We cannot even imagine the implication it will have on us in the coming decade.
My young one is an expert in playing the You Tube video he likes, songs of his choice, taking photos and of course, playing games. All of this is worth appreciating as it is making our kids smart enough to be in stride with the fast pace world that we live in. But, what worries me, as a Mother and as a Doctor is the thing that smartphones are becoming modern pacifiers. Children are spending most of their time on smartphones and they often do not bother parents unless they want to pee, poo, eat or drink (not even that if you have a nanny for your kid). Don’t you also see less and less kids playing outside with friends. This is not what childhood ever looked like. as a doctor, I indulge in regular research in the field and it is now being seen that too much use of smartphones is making children diseased in their early years and medical issues like shortened attention span, irritability, lack of confidence, and depression have become common. It’s not that I want to make you worry too, but looking at the present scenario, I feel the need of sharing this with more and more parents. Here are some simple measures that we can take to control the smartphone addiction syndrome Say NO: Just say NO in the most pleasant but assertive way and don’t give up. Give More Time: No matter how busy you are, I hope your first priority is your child, mine is. Give your children more time. Talk to them, indulge in some good activities with them. Do it for you two, and not for the world.
Talk to your Child: Some kids are too talkative and some would just not talk. Take out time for some quality conversation with your talkative child and make efforts to tempt your quiet child to talk to you.
Time Limit: To begin with, don’t just shut down all the gadgets at once. Rather limit the usage time. Give them some time, and keep decreasing the time s/he spends with the smartphone.
Go Outdoors: Kids should be out having fun either with parents or friends and not slicing the fruit in fruit ninja all day. Remember your young days, when you were a kid, didn’t you use to play outdoors and have fun all day. Get your kid in that mode.
We may live in a super technological era but it doesn’t mean that our kids should grow up completely digitized. Being responsible parents, we must tune their childhood in the most positive way. Kids don’t need a smart phone at all, all they need is a daily schedule, full of activity and fun. So go back in time, fill your child’s day with so much activity that s/he doesn’t have the time for smartphone. The purpose is to make our kids more active, encourage them to enjoy the physical world as much as possible.