The other day I went out with my husband for a dinner. There was a family sitting next to my table and the mother was trying hard to feed her daughter (almost 3 years of age). The mother tried many times and in number of ways but her daughter was not ready to eat. She started looking for something in her bag. I thought she will take out some toy from the bag to distract the child but to my surprise she took out her phone and played some cartoon video. The little girl started eating in no time and finished her food in minutes. I looked around and saw most of the children who came along with their families had their eyes down on the phone.
Today many kids are not ready to open their mouth for meals until their favourite rhymes or cartoon is played on TV or a Mobile. Children today have become so proficient in using phones that they can use this technology much more and at a much younger age than ever before. In today’s time we cannot completely cut them off from using phones or watching T. V as these gadgets are informative as well and helps in learning. But yes, we can surely put a time limit.
As per various studies , digital media exposure for children of all ages should be limited. Babies are most vulnerable to screens. Infants aged 18 months or younger should not be exposed to any digital media. It becomes really important for parents of infants to ban screen time as it hinders their brain development and impacts the parent child emotional connect as well.
Children of 2 to 5 years of age, screen time should be limited to one hour per day . You can introduce them to face to face interactive media such as skype or video chats as they promote development in kids. The kid can talk to their grandparents and when the conversation ends you can supplement their learning by recalling what conversation they had.
For kids age 6 and older, parents can determine the restrictions for time spent using screen, as well as monitor the type of digital media their children use.
Parents should promote compulsory physical activity for their children like outdoor games.
Tips for parents for healthy digital media use:
We the parents are role model of children, they follow us. So it’s important for us to have healthy digital media habits. Children today can easily tell when their parents heads are always in their cells. The lack of attention from parents makes their behaviour irritable.
- Be conscious of setting down cell phones, turning off the tv and shutting laptops at night.
- Try to keep your phone away on dinner tables, so that families can have in person conversation, which are very important for child’s communication skill to express in a better manner.
- Say no to gadgets in the bedroom. Try telling them stories so that they can have a better night sleep.
- Physical activity is must for kids. Take out some time and play outdoor games with them .They will love it for sure. Improve your bounding with them.
Digital and social media was made to bring people close .But today excessive use of Digital media has made people socially cut off. It is not that you cannot play online games with your kids. What is to be kept in mind is you need to have a media free time and while using these gadgets make it a point that you are using them for learning rather than entertainment.
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