With the continuous increase of technologies yearly, more and more children are getting hook with the latest gadgets. Moreover, with this pandemic still occurring all over the country, they are required to stay at home since they have weaker immune system than the adults. Hence, with the number of hours spent more at home, children are more exposed to gadgets.
As parents, how can we manage this? What are the advantages and disadvantages for children when using too much gadgets? How can this affect your child? What other alternatives can we do so children get more time to play with other things rather than exposing too much in the gadgets?
First, let me tell you some of the pros and cons of spending too much in the gadgets:
Education – everything can be learned online. Children, even the younger ones, can improve their skills listening, writing, speaking and reading. Through visual representations, children can increase their senses.
Cognitive and Analytical skills – games are one of the things children do in the gadgets. Playing games help them to increase their strategic skills, innovative thoughts, analytical skills and creativity.
“Techy” – this word is applied for those who use gadgets a lot that they already familiarized themselves with it. Children using gadgets more often, get to learn it better in the go.
Coordination and Decision making skill – according to the scientists, kids who use technologies a lot can have good eye coordination and improve their decision making skill.
Motivation – not only strategic skills, innovative thoughts, analytical skills and creativity can be attained in gaming, but it also serves as motivations. Especially when children experience leveling up in the games.
- Health – spending too much in gadgets can harm your eyes, have impaired brain development, bad eating habits, etc. These are some of things that can affect your health especially for kids.
- Explore – with gadgets, children may lose the ability to explore other things, especially when it comes to learning other things such as walking, speaking, eating, etc.
- Outdoor activity – with the pandemic, children can’t really go outside so gadgets accompany them which give them the reason to be exposed in outdoor activities. However, when it says “outdoor activity”, it means outside their room or their comfort zone. Children have to expose themselves more outside their door rather than staying there all day long, playing with their gadgets.
- Aggressive nature – as I mentioned above, playing games can improve some skills to children. However, when playing games, especially those with violence, they tend to be aggressive in nature, especially when it comes to their parents and friends. Playing such games can also affect their mentality as well.
- Concentration – because of the pandemic, classes are being done online. However, as parents, you can never be sure if what you’re child doing when using gadgets is still for studying. With their minds on the gadgets, their concentration level for studies lowers and it can affect them even when classes are online.
- Social interaction – when exposed to gadgets everyday, children lacks the chances to socialize. Yes, we have to keep social distancing, however, what I meant here is to communicate even within the family. No interaction will be done if they are more focused on using their gadgets rather than talk with the family.
- Screen time – you can search anything online. Just type it, hit “search” and there it is. If children are too exposed on gadgets they might go in the websites that are not appropriate for them.
Using gadgets have their pros and cons. But it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to let your child use it. It’s just that you have to know how to manage it properly so both of you and your child can benefit from it. Here are some tips that can help you do it:
1. Spend more time with your kids.
As I said earlier, using too much gadgets can affect their social interaction. That’s why as parents, you need to spend more time with them. Play with them or bond with them is a good example. Do stuffs like cooking together, doing household chores together, chat or talk, or do something that children like him do such as building blocks, or do some arts and crafts. This is the time where parents should be creative so you can be closer to each other and at the same time, the child can spend lesser in using the technologies.
2. Family media plan
Based on the article I read about giving tips for parents in this digital age is to make media work for you and to your family. Parents should plan what’s best for their children, especially when it comes to media or gadgets. As I said before, they can search anything online. Make use of the gadgets or media appropriately. When use inappropriately, it can affect both you and your child.
3. Set limits
Nowadays, many social medias were created. As it says “social”, people get to interact with other people online. Even children use social media. As parents, set their limits in doing this. Know their friends or people they meet online and even the apps that their using, the sites that they’re visiting and what they are doing online. This might sound strict or unfair for the child but you’re not totally blocking their rights to use social medias, as parents, you just want to make sure that using gadgets are safe and children-friendly.
4. Encourage playtime.
With more time spending at home, children tend to use gadgets more often than before. Parents should encourage them to involve in other activities. Any activity will do as long as they get their hands off their gadgets once in a while.
5. Do it together.
Screen time shouldn’t always be done alone. Remember, they’re children. They need your guidance, especially when doing things online. Watch, play and do things together when online. This encourages interactions, bonding and at the same time learning for both of you. Monitoring isn’t enough; interact with them so you could know what they are doing and be part of it.
Be a good model.
Values are first learned at home. As parents, you teach them good manners and right conduct. However, children will not follow you if you’re just going to tell them, you should set a good example to your children by doing it yourself. You can use their gadgets to teach them manners and values by learning it together online. If you want them to limit their use in gadgets, you must do the same. Children like to mimic things, so when they see you not using gadgets too much, they will surely imitate you.
Create tech-free zone.
Mealtime and other family and social gatherings, and children’s bedroom should be screen-free. As much as possible turn off the televisions or internet so they won’t get to connect online that much. Hence, they will tend to do other things that they can do. You can also recharge their gadgets outside their rooms so they won’t get tempted to use it again when fully charged. With these, you can encourage them to have interactions with the family, have healthier eating habits and get a better sleep.
When it comes to teens, you can’t keep them from using the gadgets, especially when using the social media. You just have to make sure that when using gadgets or being online, they are behaving appropriately in both real and online worlds. Always keep the communication open and let them know that you’re there if they have any questions or concerns.
With the ongoing rise of technologies, managing your child’s use of those will also be an ongoing challenge. However, following the tips and developing your own household can ensure the safety of the children. Kids will be kids. They will make mistakes in using their gadgets, especially when online. The benefits of using gadgets are great, but when used carelessly it affect you and your child. When this happens, as much as possible, do not scold them that much and instead be there to guide them so they will not use them inappropriately.