TEENAGER LIFESTYLE: SINCE NOW AND THEN?
I am lucky that I grew up in an age when laptops, mobile games, or internet have not become part and parcel of life. I also feel quite lucky for the fact that the influence of western foods in my generation was way too less in comparison to what the current generation is subjected to. The influence is so much that this generation feels incomplete and not content without consuming junk foods.
Children’s learning experiences have also changed from the last generation with cell phones and iPads and iPods taking the place of books. They are forever on podcasts and Skype and they have both learning and fun elements available on these devices. Unfortunately, this has caused them to miss out on some of the most important learning activities like developing skills for emotional intelligence, social skills, and physical activities. Let us see what has changed the kids of today. Don’t say you haven’t received a warning!
No more outdoor activities or playtime for kids:
Children of these days are confined within the four walls of their rooms and are glued to their seats to play computer games or to fiddle with other electronic devices. In our childhood days, we were scolded by our parents for playing outside till the dark, and there was a time when we loved staying outdoor and never wanted to stay within the boundaries of the four walls.
No face to face interactions:
When will a kid learn to judge people’s actions and their emotions? What helps them to learn how to express themselves? What helps the babies to learn their languages? Children start to learn emotions at a very young age, by observing the facial expressions of parents when they show different emotions. They start their education very early, on how to behave and how to emote, by imitating their parents which help them to survive in their playgroups and then in schools. However is that what is happening now? Even the parents are so addicted to electronic devices that they don’t even bother smiling at their children when they do something cute. If you don’t understand, just check out the parents in a café and you will get it.
Negative impact on the relationship between parents and kids:
Parents today are not willing to do the parenting and are immersed in their digital world. Apart from influencing the way the parents are interacting with their kids, these digital devices have also paved the way for a harsher and negative interaction between parents and kids. Also it makes them more cranky than the kids themselves.
No more board games:
You will find most of the kids are spending their time online these days. As per the recent studies, the number of kids online has jumped up by 28% since 2009, which is alarming. There were so many board games and I wonder why aren’t the kids playing them these days? There are many positive sides of playing games together like,
- Helps them learn reading, counting, math, and also improve their vocabulary.
- Creates a bonding with your children.
- Helps them learn about winning and losing and also about giving others the chance to play when their turns come.
- Builds confidence and boosts self-esteem
- Helps to satisfy the competitive intents.
- Improves concentration
- Increases focus and the attention span considerably.
Yes, there are indeed such games and apps on your smartphones that also aimed at doing all these. But they are nowhere near replacing the valuable human interaction that kids gain with the board games.
Do not understand real friendship:
In our childhood, we grew up with friends, who were very much real. There were no virtual friends. But today the friends of your children are counted based on those they know through facebook or other social media platform than in person. While they may have quite a few hundreds of friends on their Facebook account, they would have hardly met any of them in person. Research reveals that kids send approximately 3000 texts every month to stay connected.
No feedback on attitude or values:
With no real personal interaction with parents and others, there are no means to teach your children on some of the most important values of life like respect, diligence, kindness, tolerance, and honesty. While these digital appliances are highly entertaining and useful for learning, they are causing quite a stress in the relationship between parents and kids.
A few pieces of advice for the parents:
It has become the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children are not addicted to online activities. Parents have to ensure that their kids have a balance between online and traditional games and they have to do this by being a role model. You can make a good balance with the below points to help you,
You can use the Skype to chat with their grandparents to make a family bonding time.
Enjoy some video games together too.
Enjoy a time every day or every week where both parents and kids switch off their digital devices.
Encourage children to go out and play as much as you can.
There is no running from the digital media and they are indeed great tools for learning as well as for entertainment. However, they are to be perused cautiously and should never be compromised for personal interaction.