Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? Mobile phones under the blankets in the wee hours of the night! In this disruptive era of technology, handling the i gen kids and the young millennial is no less of a challenge. The Smart phone-addicted generation has been cradled in the arms of the internet, and the lullabies that have put them off to sleep are nothing but YouTube videos. With their lives limited by social media and their eyes on the vibrant displays of the Smart phone, shepherding these teens in the digital age becomes quite a task for parents.
At some level, parents are to be blamed too. Be it to keep them quiet when you do the dishes or to keep them engaged while you ran to the supermarket, most of you have been happy enough to hand over your cell phones to your kids. According to a study, the average age when a kid these gets a Smartphone is ten years old. Although most of these phones are hand-me-downs from parents or older siblings, the effect is still the same – they end up spending most of the time staying online. With their worlds limited to the touch screens, these kids live a shallow life and find it hard to differentiate the reel from the real. The consequence? Teen depression and anxiety! In the last three years, the rate of attempted suicide among teens and young adults has shot up by 20%. Now, you wouldn’t want your child to fall prey to his/her own demons, right?
Considering how parenting in the digital age can be a cat and mouse chase, I have some tips to make things smoother for you. To handle kids in the digital age, parents and guardians could adopt these 8 practices right away.
Reduce screen time on social media
Social media is like slow poison, but that is where the teens go to look for their lives. Most parents complain that the lives their kids lead on social media is entirely different as compared to their actual lives. It is almost as if they have split personalities. The best way to stop your kids from living in duality would be to ask them to postpone the date of creating accounts in social media. If they are already on the platforms, make sure you keep a close eye on them. However, do not make it look like you are prying.
Limit the use of Wi-Fi
Choose a router that can be paused, so that you have the prerogative to cut off the Wi-Fi when you want. There are several devices that will help you to keep a check on the flow of the internet and the internet access as per the devices. If you find a sudden increase in the usage of your kid’s phone, then inquire about it. Also, if they want to use the laptop, make them explain the purpose that they need it for. With limited Wi-Fi at home, the duration they spend online will reduce substantially.
Do not allow devices in the bedrooms
Make a blanket rule of allowing no gadgets in the bedroom. There shouldn’t be any TVs, gaming devices, tablets, laptops, or phones allowed. This will help you to break their addiction – and restrict the total time they spend on Facebook or Twitter. The biggest complain that most parents have is that whenever they enter their kid’s room, they see the glow of the Smartphone screen through the comforter. To preserve their sleep patterns, make sure that their devices are put to charge and are off their limits.
Create a Smartphone contract
Even after you give your young one a Smartphone, maintain a contract stating the limitations clearly. Set curfews during a family gathering and while eating meals at the table. Ask your child to share their login info with you. Do not allow any phone locks or fingerprint locks on the phones either, so that you have uninterrupted access to their activities. Get used to the technicalities of the Smartphone and its various techniques. Another smart step would be to link their accounts on your phone. If they breach the contract, you can confiscate their phone. This would help you keep things in line.
Give them space
Each child responds differently to the Smartphone. While one might use the internet to stay online on SnapChat, the other might use the WWW to learn something online. It is not necessary that your kid will do the wrong thing, so you need to give them the benefit of the doubt. Kids these days use the internet for their academic assignments. They take AGLC Referencing Generator Help from brands like MyAssignmenthelp.com or watch online tutoring videos to improve their grades. You cannot have the same approach towards every kid, and you need to parent each child uniquely.
Teach them by making a sacrifice
Your kids are going to learn from you. So, you must set yourself as a good example to them. When you tell them to give up their phones on the dining table, make sure that you too keep your phone away. You must practice only what you preach. Have a parent-kid day out where you keep your and your kid’s phone in the bag till the time you get back home. Seeing you detached from the device, your kids will also learn to practice abstinence. When you go for family rides or on trips, make a pact that the entire trip would be a phone-free one, including you.
Talk about the threats of cyber-bullying
Before adopting any of these measures, I would suggest that you have an open heart-to-heart conversation with your child. Tell them about the dangers of cyberbullying and cite examples to make them aware of how technology can hamper their lives. I’m sure that they would understand. Moreover, the iGen is already characterized by loneliness. So, having someone outside the virtual world could help them feel safer.
Delay introducing the Smartphone
Once you introduce your child to a Smartphone, you can’t expect to have control over his/her life. Smartphone is the root of most of the problems that the iGen faces. Your kid can be exposed to inappropriate conversations, and you might never know about it. The best way to solve the problem would be by not letting them have a Smartphone at an early age. Resist the pressure to give your kid a phone, even if he or she requests for it incessantly. Do not leave old phones around too.
Most kids are not aware of the perils that the internet has in store. The predators and cyber bullies who wait to attack can wreak havoc and destroy a child’s innocence, confidence and reputation. With Smartphone being allowed in schools, students are always distracted by the notifications about a new tag on Facebook or a new message on WhatsApp. As a result, their grades go down, and homework is left undone. If you want to keep things straight in your kid’s life, adopt the above mentioned practices and bring about the change.
Author Bio: Rose haughes is a students’ counsellor who is associated with the civil engineering assignment help She is an active blogger, Ghost Writer with Fast Essay Editing Service and a child protection activist. Besides being a bibliophile, you can often find her in the garden with her hands full of mud.