Mobile devices will unarguably change or rather has already changed social, emotional, physical, and future work lives for better or worse. While this is and increasing concern for parents, children growing up in today’s Digital Age cannot imagine a world without those devices.
Most researchers agree there are benefits and pitfalls of smartphone usage. While there is much uncertainty on how technology and smartphones will impact human development, the latest data suggests intelligent ways to keep your children and teens healthy in the Digital Age:
- Manage screen time – Help kids create a balance between interacting with technology and developing real-life relationships with humans.
- Promote physical activity – Research indicates that excessive screen time contributes to the inactivity and obesity issues in most of today’s youth. Encourage your child to engage in physical activity. For example, going for a walk or riding a bicycle.
- Monitor mental wellness – Studies show how the association of social media and technology use might lead to depression and suicide. Parents need to be aware and well-informed about childhood trauma, symptoms of mental illness and how they can be of help to their children.
- Foster peer friendships – Even though social media increases connectivity and friendships for children, life can still be quite lonely behind a screen. Parents must encourage children to indulge in shared activities that provide social interaction in real time.
- Use online health resources – The internet provides ample information on various conditions. Parents can investigate health symptoms of concern and learn about prevention.
- Explore wellness apps – Most smart phones nowadays support wellness and exercise apps. The can help to promote a much healthier lifestyle since one is able to keep track of their exercise completed, dietary practices etc.
- Bedtime rules – Growing evidence suggests that digital devices in bedrooms deter children and adolescents from the sleep they desperately need. Establish rules that the whole family will follow, leaving devices to charge elsewhere overnight.
- Talk with kids about digital ethics and safety – Safety is important, even on the internet and certain guidelines must be set for factors such as “What kind of personal information is shared online?”, “How do children communicate online with friends or strangers?” etc. Also inform them about online predators, cyber bullying and avoiding the usage of phones while driving.
Price-Mitchell, M. (2018, May 21). Retrieved June 20, 2018, from www.psychologytoday.com: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-moment-youth/201805/12-ways-keep-your-children-healthy-in-the-digital-age
[Blog contributed by Charlene Pereira during her internship tenure. The centre is not responsible for the views expressed here. Any instances of plagiarism in the above article will be the sole responsibility of Ms. Pereira]