Children these days are becoming more tech-savvy at a young age. As parents, we are constantly looking for ways to safeguard kids from Digital Addiction. Kids as young as three years old have their own tablet device and kids above ten years of age have their own smartphones. They prefer watching television, playing video games, or browsing the internet over playing outdoors and interacting with family and friends. They spend an increased amount of time on digital devices, and most children worldwide are developing digital addiction.
Digital addiction is an impulsive control disorder that involves the obsessive usage of digital devices. It is known to affect children’s physical and mental health. Recent studies have shown that digital addiction causes brain impairment in kids. Digital devices such as smartphones, handheld tablets, and computers can hold children’s attention for long periods. As a result, kids suffer from eye strain, blurred vision, and dry eyes.
Also, children using digital devices too close to bedtime suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea. Digital addiction promotes a more sedentary lifestyle, increasing the risk of developing obesity and other health conditions. Additionally, kids who become addicted to screen time sometimes lack social skills and find it difficult to interact with other people. They may also have problems with anxiety, depression, and isolation.
10 Ways to Safeguard Kids from Digital Addiction
Recent studies show that digital addiction in kids happens due to an increase in dopamine levels when they spend time on digital devices. This spike in dopamine has the same effect as addictive drugs, and the brain becomes dependent on it. Parents need to ensure that their kids don’t get trapped in the world of digital addiction.
If you happen to notice some of the signs or symptoms of digital addiction (internal link to be added here) in your child, here are simple ways to safeguard kids from Digital Addiction:
1. Indulge kids in physical activities or exercise.
Give your children plenty of opportunities to be active and exercise. Provide alternatives to watching television or playing video games, like playing outside, doing stretching exercises, or learning a sport. Try signing them up for after-school programs or sports teams.
You can include them in household chores or take them for an after-dinner walk. Or even plan your weekends to do activities like running, swimming or hiking with them. You can get the entire family involved. It is a great way as well as a fun way to spend time together.
2. Encourage kids to pursue hobbies
Please encourage your children to develop a new hobby they enjoy. Try signing them up for a music or dance class. Help them pursue hobbies such as playing an instrument, reading, drawing, or painting.
Recent studies show that kids with an active hobby do better in school. Hobbies sharpen their focus in all areas, academics included. In addition to this, kids develop their personalities and become more socially confident.
3. Teach kids to prioritize other things
Teach your children to prioritize other things. Ensure they finish homework, studying, and household chores before getting on any digital device. Also, the education system has changed dramatically due to the Covid pandemic, with teaching undertaken and exams being held on digital platforms.
Some parents might agree that gadgets aid learning, but child psychiatrists still value the old way of learning. Kids learn through exploration, curiosity, playing with other kids, reading books, etc. These activities develop their motor, neural, and speech skills as well as social and emotional skills.
4. Don’t use smartphones as a reward or distraction
Beware of using digital devices as a distraction or a reward as this can have ill effects on the children. Most parents let children use gadgets while feeding, dressing up, and traveling. It’s vital to help children identify and handle strong emotions.
Please don’t give in to their unreasonable demands. Stop using digital devices as an emotional pacifier and develop healthy activities to calm them down and manage their boredom.
5. Set screentime limits across devices
Teach your child early about the importance of moderation. Keep track and restrict the amount of time your child spends on digital devices by introducing a strict schedule. This will reduce the chance of eye strain, neck pain, or other health issues that arise from prolonged screen time.
Avoid usage of phones and tablets during mealtime and before bedtime. The screens of digital devices emit blue light that can cause the brain to be more active, and kids have difficulty falling asleep.
6. Active supervision and monitoring kids’ online activity
Children don’t pay much attention to their posture, screen brightness, and screen distance from their eyes. Actively supervise them to help maintain a proper posture and avoid straining their eyes.
Parents need to monitor their kid’s online activity to reduce the risk of placing their kids in a harmful online environment. Ensure the kid’s online activities are done in an area where they can be seen, such as a desktop in the living room. Allowing children to browse the internet behind closed doors is a terrible idea. Also, examine the browsing history to see what the kids have been up to.
7. Set passwords on your digital devices
It is not always possible for you to be around your child and monitor them. In such a situation, technology can come to your rescue. Set a password on your device to avoid usage by your child in your absence. You can also change your wifi password to ensure that they do not have access to the internet and ask them to bring their devices for password entry when they want to access the internet.
8. Communicate with your kids
The best parent-child relationships are characterized by positive communication and plenty of face-to-face interaction. The best way to safeguard kids from digital addiction is to have an honest conversation with them about their digital habits. Let them understand the dangers of the internet and how the restrictions are for their safety.
Create an environment where they feel comfortable opening up to parents in order to monitor what they are doing, enjoying, worrying about, or pondering. Educate them on the harmful effects of digital addiction on their health.
9. Bond with your kids
Bond with your children and take the time out for family activities. It could be as simple as playing board games, reading books, and engaging them in cooking, cleaning, or gardening. These activities will help build your children’s social skills and self-esteem. Also, no device or app can replace the importance of time spent with family.
10. Be your child’s role model
Many parents spend a lot of time on their smartphones and laptops. In such cases, telling their kids not to use digital devices may not help. Kids are great observers, and they mimic the habits of their parents. Be a role model for your kids and restrict your usage of digital devices to spend more time with them. However, explain it to your kids if your profession demands high use.
Technology is not going anywhere, and digital media use is a growing problem as children worldwide are too attached to their gadgets. This compulsive use of digital devices can interfere with their daily life, school, and relationships. As parents, it’s essential to prioritize our kid’s safety and well-being.
Parenting is not easy, and finding ways to safeguard kids from digital addiction can be a huge challenge. It may result in many arguments and temper tantrums. But it’s in our hands to help them find the balance between real life and digital addiction.
At Physeek Fit, we strive to come up with real solutions for problems being faced by kids today. Do you have an idea that will help curb Digital Addiction? Head over to the link above and let us know!