Preschoolers have a noticeable addiction to phones, not to mention those who are older. Is it possible to reduce it? And in general, how urgent and scary the problem is, especially in the sense that we ourselves have been living online for a long time, we just really want to keep our chads safe from it.
How do you explain to a child that the phone is harmful, when you yourself are sitting day and night in the mail, on the Internet betting via Bet22, and chatting on social networks? And with the harmfulness, it’s not quite clear. Alcohol, let’s say, makes people drink alcohol, and tobacco harms the lungs. But what happens when you don’t let your gadgets out of your hands?
Scientists’ Opinion, Parents’ Experience
A lot of research has been conducted on this topic. It’s proven that the duration of communication with an electronic device affects the emotional state of the child (surely you can imagine a baby who has watched too many cartoons). Or that spending time on a smartphone causes symptoms of anxiety and sleep disturbance. Some parents complain that their children have stopped reading or walking the dog with pleasure – interests have been replaced by games on the phone or videos of not the most adequate orientation. On the other hand, there are the opposite comments: “Played and stopped.” It’s a question of luck and brain biochemistry, i.e. the presence or absence of a tendency to addiction.
Gadgets are more likely to be demonized than not. After all, it’s naive to expect parents, young, working, active, that they devote 24/7 time to their child. So we draw a vicious circle: some space in the life of the child will be given to the phone or tablet, one way or another. And as the situation will evolve further, it depends on each case and the child himself because the gadget – it’s just a conditional instrument. It’s strange to go against the clock and pretend that digital devices don’t exist. You can also think about what is going on in the real world of the child, that he tends to replace it with a virtual one?
Other Reasons for Long Hang-ups With the Gadget
The Parent-child Relationship Is Unstable
Parents, even when physically present, are constantly distracted by the smartphone, creating an intermittent pattern of interaction. The son or daughter becomes the backdrop to which mom and/or dad have to occasionally be distracted from scrolling. It can be construed as “I’m less needed than the message that needs to be read urgently.” Well, and then – a series of manipulations to attract the attention of adults, and after – the same pattern of behavior, only now you and the world around the child become the background.
The Child Isn’t Taught to Be Bored
Boredom is useful, or rather, it motivates to reflect, to think of something new to do. When the child grows up in constant entertainment, when every holiday is not without an animator, a roller coaster and other superstimulation, boredom, of course, turns into a disaster.
You Haven’t Set Rules for the Use of Gadgets
For example, to eat without a phone in hand. Don’t take a gadget to bed. Games are permitted after the lessons are done, and so on. Explain here that gadgets are temporary entertainment, not for the whole day. And this, in turn, will teach the child to calculate and regulate their employment and their time more productively. Any boundaries help self-control – you shouldn’t expect from your offspring some miraculous awareness, when he lives in permissiveness, and you yourself break your own rules.
The Child Knows no Other Pastime
Evaluate how much of your family traditions: joint dinners, attendance at cultural events, meetings with relatives or friends. The meager life of your own can also be an anti-example for the child, who runs away when he has free time, to where something happens, so showing his emotionality – through dependence on the characters of computer games, the subjects of videos and so on.
You Don’t Have Many Reasons to Communicate
It’s not about quantity, but quality. Children often “go” into the virtual world also from a lack of speaking habit. Perhaps in your family, it isn’t acceptable to communicate, to be surprised together, to discuss what they see, walk and watch. There is no inner reality that you would like to live together. That’s why boys and girls choose such an autistic, introverted way of life where there is no need to express their thoughts, to share experiences, to contemplate.