Every generation faces different challenges while bringing up their children. The parenting challenges that we face today were never heard of or thought about in our parent’s life time. Today lets see some challenges of parenting in the high technology age . Parenting itself has become more and more difficult, as we move around in a high technology age. Parenting is challenged by constantly changing technologies.
As we all understand, technology has many advantages and has made the world more connected and closer than before. At the same time, technology has complicated things and has made our children addicted to gadgets. This in turn has impacted their health and their approach towards leading a normal life.
As in the good old days, the discussion around the dinner table comprised of their day at school or watching a good TV show together or reading library books. In the old days children enjoyed their story telling time and free unstructured play time.
But today, we find that most of the restrictions are being placed on online things, like for e.g., don’t go on that site, reduce the over usage of the internet. Children have to be constantly reminded to reduce the use of multiple devices such as I pods, kindle and cell phones. Parents are finding it difficult to ask them to reduce web chats and text messages .There is also a constant pressure to be on the top of your social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., which needs to be regulated.
Modern research has clearly indicated that there are various ill effects associated with the high usage of technology.
Today, we will understand some of the key points that are disadvantageous to our children due to the high usage of technology in their life.
Finding it difficult to be attentive
Children are finding it difficult to be attentive. Parents and teachers agree that children today have a shorter focus time on a single task. Today a child cannot focus on an average for more than 5 minutes on any task, which is not a good sign. The fast digital world has reduced their attention span and children are easily distracted.
Most parents try to calm their hyper active children by putting on the TV or giving them a smart phone to play games, in order to help them to focus. But that is not the correct approach points out many experts.
Children as young as 2 years are able to smartly manoeuvre the smart phone . It is then surprising to see that they are not able to adapt to the basic skill sets such as holding a pencil correctly, trying to put on their clothes properly or tie their shoe laces correctly. When a child’s mind is constantly exposed to a fast and stimulating environment in the artificial digital world, they find the real life (for e.g., school) slow and boring.
Today, schools face this uphill task of making their curriculum exciting and engaging. We also need to remember that schools inculcate the basic knowledge and skill sets which are built over a period of time. These skill sets may not be exciting for now but are very important for further learning in life.
Most of us today including our children are experts in multitasking. Though most parents say that multitasking has helped their children to adapt and improve their ability to perform different tasks. In reality the expert’s advice is completely opposite to this view. Expert Neuro scientists say that when you are constantly switching from one task to another then your attention is also hovering from one task to another.The end result is that it lowers the quality of work that is done and also stresses the brain.
Youngsters today are addicted to technology and gadgets. It is important to know that technology in itself is not wrong, but the abuse of it, is wrong. It is important to set boundaries and also have “time off” for gadgets. If you do no talk to your children about the consequences of technology abuse, it may lead to addiction. As you would warn them about dangers while crossing the road, you need to tell them about the online dangers of technology as well.
It is important to teach your children time management. Children are often seen using the internet, video games and smart phones for hours together, without actually realizing the time spent on these gadgets.
Some parents feel that since their children get good grades by completing their studies in time, they have no reason to complain. Yes, your children might be finishing all their studies in time, just to get those uninterrupted hours of video games or internet, but it is not right.
It is important that you set boundaries and encourage them to read a book or enjoy outdoor play, which is good for their body and brain.
Sleep and relaxed time
As our body gets refreshed and relaxed due to sleep, the brain also gets nourished with down time. When the brain is continuously stimulated and hyper, it does not get enough time to reboot. It is important for the brain to process and integrate what it has experienced and freshly learnt.
People who are creatively inclined will always vouch for the fact that the best creative ideas come when they are completely relaxed. A lot of information gets processed and downloaded when we are resting and asleep.
When children are continuously plugged in and alert, the ability of the brain to download and integrate the information is compromised. Remember the ability to focus and be attentive is the basic foundation for good academic and career success.
Modern research has clearly indicated that the academic success largely depends upon three things .They are reading, maths and the ability to focus and pay attention.
As we have discussed the abuse of technology and it ill effects. It is also important for parents not to be totally ignorant of modern technology.
You can do the following to understand and adapt to newer technologies, though you need not be a thorough professional in it.
Some key points to be noted are:
a) Educate yourself about the new technology and talk to your children about the same. In this way you are learning new things and also spending time with them. You need to make an attempt to be a part of your child’s world.
b) Do not overreact but set firm boundaries so that technology is not abused.
c) Know your children’s friends, so that you know their talks and views on social media. You can clearly gauge whether they are positively or negatively influencing your children.
Though the task is tough, we can still overcome the challenges associated with the evolving digital world and bring up our children in the best possible way. The above are some of the challenges faced in parenting in the high technology age like ours.
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