Digital Addiction – How to help my teenager
SoulKids® Program Manager, www.soulkids.org
2nd July 2018
The world we live in right now is massively different from the one we used to live in as children. Among the many changes, the digital revolution has been one that has changed our lives in many ways. Mobiles, tablets, laptops are no longer a luxury any more – they are a way of life.
While technology has its advantages, it is essential that we remain mindful of the ill effects of the same. With laptops and mobile phones becoming a necessary part of every child’s growing years and part of their learning in school, it is all the more necessary that we inculcate the right habits from the start among children.
We cannot live in our own little bubble and avoid technology completely. Instead we must learn to embrace it with the right habits. Here are a few ways we can do the same.
1. Accept don't resist
Once we have given our children access to mobiles or laptops, there is no point resisting it and fighting over why they spend so much time on it. If in your teenage years you spent hours speaking to your friends on the phone, today the children do it on WhatsApp or snapchat. It is a part of their growing up years and constantly blaming them for it only creates a very negative environment. Instead encourage open communication. Discuss what they watch / do on their computers openly. Perhaps watch some of the shows with them. This helps foster a sense of openness and helps them be honest with you. Confrontation will only make them lie.
2. Encourage them to segregate screen time
Children need to be guided to understand how hours can be spent on your digital equipment. What might start as a simple google search might end up in hours of aimless reading. Help them understand this. Encourage them to set aside specific times for the tasks that they are doing. For example, if it is a school evening, encourage them to leave their phones on silent while they do their work. There are apps like focus available for computers as well which can help you block out any form of distractions for specific periods of time. This helps them focus on getting their work done. And once the work is complete, they can catch up on any messages on their phones. Cultivate a sense of responsibility for their own school work.
3. Encourage healthy habits like taking frequent breaks from their computers. Encourage them to put their digital devices away while they are in the company of people. Perhaps family time is a good way to start. Encourage them to set aside their devices during family time and make sure you do the same. Let this time be one where everyone engages in conversation perhaps over a meal or while doing an activity together.
4. Encourage them to spend lots of time in the outdoors. Perhaps playing their favorite sport or going for a run or a walk or biking. This is a great way to beat stress during exams, to help clear your mind and energize the body.
5. Encourage them to develop a love for reading.
Make it a habit to help them pick out a few books to read during their holidays. Frequent trips to the library can ensure they have enough to read in their spare time. This will also ensure they don’t just sit with their phones the entire time. Encourage them to keep a wish list of books that they would like to read. And every time there is a holiday, help them source the books so they can keep themselves engaged.
While the distractions that digital devices provide are plenty, they must understand that there is a lot more they can do without it too. Lead them by example, let them see you put away your devices for specific periods of time. Some of these habits when inculcated early can help your teenagers develop the right approach towards digital distractions.
Life-skills education can go a long way in encouraging the right mindset towards life and the many distractions in it including digital distractions. At SoulKids® we teach children essential life-skills that help them create their own happiness and success.
To find out more about our programs for children, please visit www.soulkids.org or email us at email@example.com for more information. We offer group programs for different age groups and even offer one-on-one coaching if your child requires specific help and guidance.
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