Compiled by Parimita Barooah Bora
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Another year has come and gone, but in the tech world, it means lot more major innovations are on the way. But we already live in a high tech world, is this not enough? The thought as what bigger innovations are coming make me feel uneasy as a mother. Reminiscing about the good old days when we were growing up is a memory trip well worth taking when trying to understand the issues facing the children of today. A mere 10 years ago, children used to play outside all day, riding bikes, playing sports and building forts. Masters of imaginary games, children of the past created their own form of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision. Like all kids, for us too, the dining room table was a central place where we came together to eat and talk about our day, and after dinner became the centre for baking, crafts and homework. I try to follow it even today at my home but I need to struggle much to make it happen, whereas for my mom it was a natural process.
Today’s families are different. Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were the fabric that held families together. Juggling school, work, home, and community lives, parents now rely heavily on communication, information, and transportation technology to make their lives faster and more efficient. Entertainment technology (TV, Internet, video games, iPads, cell phones) has advanced so rapidly, that families have scarcely noticed the significant impact and changes to their family structure and lifestyles.
Children now rely on technology for the majority of their play, grossly limiting challenges to their creativity and imaginations, as well as limiting necessary challenges to their bodies to achieve optimal sensory and motor development. The impact of rapidly advancing technology on the developing child has seen an increase of physical, psychological and behaviour disorders that the health and education systems are just beginning to detect. Child obesity and diabetes are now national epidemics in both Canada and the U.S., causally related to technology overuse. Diagnoses of ADHD, autism, coordination disorder, developmental delays, unintelligible speech, learning difficulties, poor academic performance, sensory processing disorder, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are associated with technology overuse, and are increasing at an alarming rate. Technological gadgets have posed a bad impact on social relationships. Children are addicted to gadgets. They don’t have time to sit with their parents and to spend some good time with them. They prefer to connect with their friends and relatives via text messaging, chatting etc, rather than meeting them actually. Means, they are connected with others in the virtual world, but not in the real world. Writing is an art which every person must own. Technology has its negative effect on writing skills of children. Standard English is not used in the text messaging, chatting. While writing text messages, no one cares about the spelling, punctuation and grammar. This is resulting in poor writing skills of children. Another serious problem is negative impact on character, as rather than using internet in productive manner, children use it as source of adult content. The list is endless………
As a mom of a 3 year old, I feel amazed how my 3 year old can handed a gadget and just know how to use it. Action figures, puzzles and blocks are no longer the standard toys among today’s children, though I have filled my home with it. I need to give a major chunk of my time playing with them so that I can make my kids get involve in some creative and developmental games. Let's face it: We have all played on our phone while with our kids. Whether it's a quick text or a social media post, it can be difficult to put the electronics down. I'm guilty of it, and most parents are guilty of it. But in reality, our email and facebook can wait – especially if it means setting a good example for our children and protecting their health. Multiple studies have shown that as parents increase their screen time (whether it be smart phones, TV, computers, video games), their children do the same. Our children are constantly learning from us and following in our footsteps. When we focus on a screen instead of our child, we are sending a message that says, "My phone or the TV is more interesting than you." It's time that we set an example for our children and put down the devices. Here are some suggestion we can do to help ourselves and our kids to slowly unplug: remove the TV from the bedroom, ban electronics from the dinner table, put limitations on screen time, set aside play time, get interactive with your children.
This New Year, let’s make a resolution to unplug as much as possible. By doing so, you'll not only create more memories with your children, you'll also help improve your family's well-being.
Parimita Barooah Bora is a onetime lecturer and currently she is a stay-at-home mom. Having done her post graduation in English, Education and Travel n Tourism, she taught for few years until her relocation to Kuwait. She likes to share the experiences of her life as a freelance contributor to various newspapers, magazines and websites. Now, as a freelance writer and teaching children in the evenings at home keeps her busy. Member of IWIK Team.
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