With the internet becoming an unavoidable part of our lives, raising kids in this age is no easy task. It requires tact, skill and physical presence to make sure that this boon in communication is being used well. The challenges are many:
Obsession with the internet
Posting every small detail of their lives, peering into someone’s life and the need for approval leads to an obsession with the internet. While social media has its benefits, the constant need for approval that it creates is unhealthy. It can lead to blind imitation of peers and celebrities that can ruin your kid’s life and leave them with low self esteem and other behavioral problems.
As with television, this also applies to the internet. Sitting in one place is a sort of given when one is watching or viewing something on the internet. One page leads to another, one profile to another and time flies by.
Unhealthy food habits
These are developed as the effort to cook a meal or whip up a quick snack is a burden for those glued to the internet. Kids miss out on the most basic of survival skills and will forever be dependent on others. This leads to increased consumption of junk food later on in life. Studies in this area show how such habits have been developed.
With a vast variety of content available on the internet and everything being freely available at the click of a button, your kid may be viewing content not suitable for his/her age. This can lead to inappropriate behavior at school or around other kids. Your kid could also end up being a victim of cyber bullying and other such influences. All of this will not go unnoticed if you aren’t careful and do not regulate your child’s internet usage.
Lack of concentration
Jumping from one page to another, one photograph to another, one video to another with a click or a scroll leads to lack of concentration and creates problems for children to focus on academics. Studies have shown that people who use the internet daily for 6-8 hours may have a reduced attention span. This problem is amplified in kids due to their impressionable nature.
You however do not have to impose an internet ban on move to the middle of a desert to keep your kids safe online and manage the time spent online. Here are some tips that can help you effectively manage your kids internet usage:
Time limits should be agreed upon when allowing children to use the internet. Many parental controls options are available that you can implement to ensure your kids are adhering to the agreed upon schedule.
If parents, guardians and elders are glued to their phones or the internet all day, it won’t take long for children to model them. Following time limits or proper use applies to the elders in the family too. This also helps you maintain a good work-life balance and enusre you’re not responding to work emails at the dinner table.
Eating together is a healthy habit to ensure that the family bonds and exchanges ideas. When each person of the family is occupied with his or her own device during meal times, it loosens the bond between family members and internet takes charge.
Constructive use of time
The internet is not all bad. It can be a very useful tool to help your kids with their school projects and other DIY activities. Participating in these activities with your children makes it a fun family experience. You can also share your expertise on the best YouTube channels for DIY videos and the best blogs for various topics. This also encourages a healthy discovery of the internet and its large pool of quality content.
Learning a musical instrument, or a skill is possible today through the internet. Exposing your children to such opportunities will make internet a useful resource. You should also encourage your kids to step outside and play. This not only keeps them away from the internet, but is also a great way to keep them healthy and fit. Regular physical activity also leads to healthy food habits and good metabolism, something they will thank you for later in life.
Its never too early to put in place regulations and practices to ensure the internet is a safe place for your children. They are however going to be exposed to a lot of inappropriate internet content at school and on the playground, you can help manage this by teaming up with other parents at your kid’s school to create a program and define ground rules around internet usage.
With discretion and intentional parenting, raising kids in the digital age is a difficult but achievable task. Do you have any other tips that can have proven to successfully tackle overuse of the internet? Share your tips and hacks in the comments section below. If you liked this article, click on the share buttons at the top of the article or at the side.