In this digital era, everyone needs to have some technical knowledge. The usage of personal computers, smart phones, tabs, laptops, and ipads has not only become very common but are entangled with our lives that keeping our children completely away from tech gadgets could cripple their future. Having some digital education is really necessary for them. But these kids are getting addicted to the gadgets and unplugging them is being a big trouble for the parents. Now, the parents should know where to draw a line between these two realities that could affect the child’s future.
In today’s children, Internet is the main culprit which leads to a drop in grades and increased aggression among kids. Though every child finds it difficult to accept this, it is the real truth. The modern-day problem of addiction to the Internet is of growing. Psychological approaches suggest that people use the Internet excessively to compensate for social or psychological difficulties, and deficits in personal well-being in terms of their everyday offline life. Studies have linked sensation-seeking (a tendency to pursue excitement and sensory pleasure), loneliness and emotional problems (such as depression and low self-esteem), sleep deprivation to excessive Internet use.
What is Screen Addiction?
As parents when you observe that your child’s screen time (usage of gadgets) is high and finds happiness only in using it, then your child can be considered as a Screen addict. This digital heroin makes your child to want to go back to it every time their hands are free. The screens in any form like computer, TV, smart phones, tabs, ipads, video games etc. tend to stimulate the pleasure parts of the child’s brain, which are termed as Reward Mechanisms of the brain. As a result of this, kids will never want to leave the gadgets.
The entertainment and attention theses gadgets provide the kid through senses, visuals and audio are no way in comparison to the pleasure they get anywhere else. Hence, the kids get addicted to them resulting in drastic impairment of child’s development.
How dangerous is Screen addiction?
Screen addiction hampers the development of your child in all the possible ways.
- The slouching over position of your child while handling a smart phone misaligns the spine which has a direct correlation to their blood circulation. This highly affects the brain development of the child.
- Prolonged exposure to the blue screen light affects their eye-sight. Most of the children have glasses at a very young age. Some are already semi-blinded.
- This blue light also induces headache in children. This headache is an indication of the effect on the brain capacity and the ability to concentrate. This reduces the child’s efficiency.
- Health issues like fidgeting and nervous weakness will be common. The ability to control limb movement and directional assessment gets highly affected.
- Lack of physical activity due to high screen time affects their health and growth. This makes children prone to obese and hormone related disorders.
- Due to the engaging gadgets, the sleep timings of children get highly affected. They will experience irregular sleep cycles.
- Many psychological problems arise with screen addiction. The child’s creativity gets killed. All the developmental skills and activities of that younger age get hampered. The language skills, social skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills etc. will be highly damaged.
Isn’t it so scary to even imagine a healthy growing child to encounter such a drastic future? But this is what screen addiction is gifting them.
Know you are addicted or not
Just go through the simple test below to know if you are addicted. Mark
how many “yes” you get.
- You’re obsessed with being online or on the cell phone to SMS, email or get on to Facebook
- You can’t regulate your technology usage
- You want to be constantly connected, in terms of gaming or surfing
- Your academic standards decline
- You are disinterested in outdoor games or socializing
- You could have eye strain
- You are suffering from sleep disorders
If you have a strike rate of three out of the four, you’re addicted!!! The ease of technology was pushing people towards being “online” constantly instead of offline. The children wouldn’t spend time with parents or friends, preferring instead to always text or use the Internet to communicate constantly.
Steps for De-addiction
Well, Parents need to follow some methods in order to control this addiction behavior in children. Remember to follow the below points.
- Limit setting is crucial from the outset
- Keep the computer in the common area of the house so that children can’t use it whenever they want.
- Laptops and computers should always be password-protected so that a child needs to ask a parent before they can log on.
- Plan constructive distractions, like sports or music or arts, so that they have less time for electronic media.
- Encourage them to read books or newspapers and discuss the content with them. Or, if that doesn’t work, spend some time surfing the Web together to help with their homework.
- Model the behavior, how much time they spend online by cutting back on yours.
- Avoid the temptation of checking whether you received a reply to that last email you sent from your desk
- Consider completely switching off from the Internet at least for a couple of hours. During that time, help your children with their school work or just make conversation with them.
- Make a dedicated “tech-free family time” when no one uses any form of electronic device and spends the time communicating with each other.
If one parent is strict while the other one is lenient in placing restrictions on the child’s Internet use, the child will treat one parent as an enemy. Both the parents should be on the same page about Internet use.
Problems due to Inappropriate Exposure
There are many instances now-a-days that make us understand the problem of letting children use internet without much of parental supervision. When the child who is not so aware of the technology, downloads certain apps or games that can read and track all the data from the phone, whole family gets into trouble. There are numerous issues being reported in this regard, recently. The popular Blue Whale game which has spread havoc all over the world was downloaded by only children who are much habituated to play online games. Along with stealing information, they have made the children to get into their trap of following their orders literally. After each thrilling step they performed as instructed and uploaded the videos as they were asked to, the children also committed suicide which was also part of this dangerous game.
Most of the other online dangerous games pose questions to the children, where they were asked to fill in the details like school name, area, parents’ occupation etc. which make it easy for the cyber criminals to kidnap the children for ransom. We have heard of such incidents that occurred recently.
Also, today’s children with internet in hand are having exposure to all the illicit material and unwanted sexual content on the internet, which is inappropriate for their age. Though the parental controls are made, the pop-ups or the arousing advertisements of innerwear or condoms could sometimes surprise us. However, the threshold of internet can be the gateway of unwanted and irrational freedom for those young minds.
Get a proper Tech de-addiction therapy
As every child has a right to grow in a better environment and every parent has the responsibility to create and sustain it, making sure that the child gets free of tech addiction is a must. The introduction of newly emerging technologies like virtual reality in every field and the opportunities social media is creating for personal and commercial exposure, is making it an interesting deal for today’s generation. It is commonly observed that parents suffer a lot to unplug their children from internet. In this process, parenting could be a challenge. Seeking an expert help can help you deal better with this.
Making parenting a piece of cake!!
Psychological counselors interact with both the parents and the children, together and separately to know the problem completely. They should know everything regarding the child’s behavior and development, the family issues that could affect them etc. for treating the children. Every detail of every client is kept confidential. After analyzing the problem, the mode of treatment will be decided by the consultant psychologists. The techniques and tips given by them for both the parents and the children are to be followed for better results.
Take an online counseling session so that you may contact your counselor from your own room, while the children are playing in the next room. The thought of seeking a right help for your problem makes it half-solved. Learn the ways to improve your parent-child relationship and contribute for the all-round development of your child, by booking a session with one of our experts.