I asked few parents on a general scenario between them and their kids.
"Child playing with mobile or watching TV.. Not listening, not studying or not coming to table for eating.. So what do you generally do?"
I got the following (common) responses:
1. Call repeatedly and later lose patience to shout or yell or hit or punish
2. Silently go and switch off TV or take away the mobile. Handle the angry reaction/tantrum of the child
3. Wait for some more time patiently and then Call again
4. Can't handle anymore and let go while feeling angry /frustrated
5. Withdraw other benefits or silent treatment
The pattern of the response is almost the same and I these are repeated response. It is because we don't have a choice - Do We?
Now, let's put a hold to ourselves and check how we, as adults have evolved to rely on spending almost 90% of our time using gadgets. May it be ordering food or grocery, shopping, setting an alarm, setting reminders or even to find a location we use GPS an to send an email. Even better, our health is tracked over the gadgets we use - mobile phone linked to Smart Watches, which tells us about our heart rate, steps walked, sleeping hours, etc.
Coming back to our children, they are forced to adapt to the online classes since last year due to the Pandemic and that this pattern seems to continue for minimum 1 more year. If we look back, gone are those days where kids were forced not to use the gadgets for entertainment but now to be forced for edutainment. Trust me, children undergo mental stress much more than adults due to this Pandemic and Home Schooling.
Edutainment is the new concept where kids are using it very efficiently to upgrade their skills. In fact, many parents I know have enrolled their kids for annual subscriptions of learning Maths and Coding at a very young age. Trust me, I cannot code myself at my age today and I feel it difficult to learn coding. Whereas, kids are achieving so many things in this field and have become entrepreneurs using mobile app development and even better by becoming Influencers at a very young age. All credit goes to the technology and exposure that kids are having these days.
Digital Experts and Studies says that, within a decade or 2, half of the traditional jobs that we are doing are going to be based out of Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Robotics. Every job description is going to change and knowing technology will be a mandatory one!
Even though there are many side effects and concerns using the mobile devices persist, we need to ensure on how are we going to channelize our kids to use the mobile devices effectively, safely and productively rather than using it for no benefit at all. Here is where, I can help you as a Parenting Coach, if you like to connect with me.
In a nutshell, more than kids being addicted to the mobile devices, parents/elders are much addicted to the mobile devices (with their own reasons) and expect kids to not use devices. Remember, kids are influenced by adults at home, especially the parents. Evaluate the screen time of an adult to that of children vs the content viewed/watched by adults to that of the content watched by children. While we are so dependent on mobile devices for our basic usage, their future is much dependent on it. And being locked down for about a year now and yet another year ahead (minimum), we need to ensure how we adapt this norm. We are basically in a transitional phase of adapting technology and it is definitely a challenging one.
With this, I would like to understand your thoughts and CONCERNS over this topic on what you feel is right about this and what you fear about (I'm sure majority of your issues would be on the health of kid's eyes. Mention it in comments and I have an amazing debrief about it). Do write back to me as I know there are many questions, fears and doubts I might have triggered. I would be happy to discuss over this.. Also, I'm thinking to host a workshop on this as there is too much for me to share and too much to address based on your challenges..Let me know!!
For now, all we could do is to ensure that kids are well monitored on not using the devices in a wrong way and that their screen time and content is mindfully handled. Partner with them to communicate the pros and cons of using mobile devices channelizing to use it effectively and efficiently. If you want to know about Partnering with your child, click here to read the blog.
If you wish to enrol for any of my programs, please visit this page to know more and book your slot. https://www.farhanaiffath.com/services.