Updated: Oct 8
Our CHILDREN and TEENS grow up in a different world from us. Living and learning in the DIGITAL World (DigiWorld), sometimes make them wonder, " What is wrong with me using the phone or tablet? Why are Mum and Dad so annoyed whenever they see me "glued" to the TV?"
For many parents, we grew up playing with physical toys, having face-to-face talks, and doing things together with friends and family. Then, Internet was not even in existence. In fact, I was already 17 when I first used the Internet. This however, is not the case for our children. At a very young age, our children are already exposed to phones, tablets, computers. Many can navigate the different applications in the devices easily - and often better than parents.
Our children live, "eat" and "breathe" Digitalisation.
Today, PLAY has significantly taken a new form. Most of the PLAY is built on the virtual world (not real world). And our kids love it! Virtual play presents thousands of possibilities that would never have been possible in the real world. For example, becoming a BRAWLER character with thousands of trophies; or becoming an IMPOSTER in AMONG US; or die and re-live several times till the quest is conquered. Our children and teens PREFER to game virtually, then on the board! They would rather use their tablets than play with real physical toys!
Today, with technology, it has also brought the world closer. Through social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Messaging Platforms etc.), our children now can meet new people across the continents, make new friends on the other part of the world. Such diversity and new experiences bring lots of excitement to our younger generation. Even within close distance (just across the room), it is a common sight to see our children chit-chatting with their friends over WhatsApp (instead of having a face-to-face conversation).
And we know, it's not just our children. We adults are also behaving the same way as them too, isn't it.
You may have read tonnes of literature by now, about the undesirable consequences of over exposure to the DigiWorld.
So the question is, " Is it ok?"
YES! - If our children know how to SELF-MANAGE, and practise CYBER SAFETY. As parents/guardians, we have to equip them with these skills.
1. SET LIMITS - Discuss and agree how much exposure per day, per period. For my 9yo, we agree on a maximum exposure of 1.5hrs/day. Each screen-exposure not more than 20minutes. For my 14yo, the max per day is 2hrs. This includes all forms of media, and hardware. Time-tabling works for most children too, especially for children between 7yo to 12yo.
2. EXPLAIN - The rationale for limiting the exposure time. E.g. To rest the eyes and mind; To manage rising emotions from excessive exposure to games and online activities etc.
3. MONITOR & REVIEW - Monitor how our children are coping with the limits. If they follow through and are doing well, praise them. If they are not, find out the reasons. Discuss the review (Step 1 & 2) again.
4. ENCOURAGE & TRY OUT NEW ACTIVITIES - Together with our children, try our new activities that will be helpful to reduce screen time. Activities such as swimming, cycling, hiking are easy to take on. Even a short trip to the playground, or a run to the supermarket, will be helpful to take some of our children's time (and mind), off from the screen.
And note too, that it is NORMAL for children to take quite a long time to build up that routine, and exercise self-control. The younger the age, the longer the time required. KEEP TRYING and DON'T GIVE UP!
If you would like to know more, specific to your family or your children, contact us for a chat at +65 9631 7316, or email@example.com. We offer Parenting Consultation, Counselling Services for Children and Youths and Adults; Stress and Anxiety Therapy.