One of the challenges faced by teenagers and kids today is to strike a balance between social media (internet) and the real world. Recent studies reveal that children tend to spend more and more time on their laptops, video games and cell phones in comparison to spending quality time with their family. Gone are those days when kids showed a propensity for outdoor games and stayed in playgrounds till late in the evening.
What happens today? Children come back from schools dump their bags in the living room and head straight to their mobiles. Sometimes the whole family remains glued to the virtual world for hours on end. Behavioural indicators reveal the toll on health and the effect on communication and interpersonal skills. The quality time spent with the family is becoming abysmally low.
The acknowledged fact is that social media has permeated our lives and is here to stay. You just cannot ignore the clarion call of Facebook for uploading pictures! Is there a quick fix to this problem? Electronic gadgets; can we keep them at bay?
Let’s look at the trajectory of human command and control. For the Gen X decision making was influenced by parental control. However Gen Y lives and thrives in exercising the freedom of choice. Herein lies the difficulty. The older generation loved to hang around with friends. Parties and family get-togethers featured often in their lifestyles. The young generation today prefers to live in a cocoon, having their time dictated by the pangs of social media platforms. Friendship starts online and ends online today. Online games have become the new normal while playing outdoors stands long forgotten; a thing of the past for the majority. Parental concern is thus evident!
Let’s face reality! The online world cannot just vanish. The contest is between the virtual world and the real world and parents are required to formulate a tangible solution for the young generation. Children face constant peer pressure, and often technology lures youngsters in its vicious grip. The need to conform to dictates of the age often influences decision making.
Sighting a problem is easy; to find alternative solutions is altogether more challenging. The responsibility for the moral and intellectual development of children rests not only on parents but also on all teachers, elders and the thought leaders of this century. At the outset, parents’ behaviour needs to be exemplary and worthy of emulation. Parents must also communicate more frequently with their children and spend quality time with them.
The element of trust and credibility holds good in any relationship; it especially applies to children and adolescents who long for love, warmth, recognition and acceptance. One working solution to the problem can be to stagger the use of electronic gadgets during early childhood. Parents often introduce technology at a very early age when the child looks for better parental involvement, cooperation and communication. Gifting the child a phone at the age of three or five spells behavioural doom. It is recommended that both the parents introduce the world of books and illustrations to give a boost to the child’s power of imagination. It is a proven fact that listening is an important component in understanding; thus parents can be good storytellers while children can learn new words and build mental processes. Teaching drawing or introducing music, dance or drama helps a child learn more about the real world. The child thus is able to connect with the societal expectations and occurrences and his own possibilities and limitations.
Parents during the early age often hand over electronics devices to children. This is akin to letting a teen drive; accidents are bound to follow. Parents are to be the foremost regulatory authority and should learn to assess the developmental growth of the child. Children learn more from their peer groups and hence it is also recommended that children are to be allowed to go out into the open to play and explore to find new things and delve into the unknown. Electronic devices by themselves are not bad, however the use of electronic gadgets must not be made available to all during early childhood. Restrictive use of technology focusing on learning and mastering new arts and crafts can help check the ill-effects of technology. However, when the right age dawns then the indoctrination process can begin. The young generation will not require any specialized teaching or training for mastering technology. Exploration of the mind and soul during early childhood can be the acid test for assessing the innate, latent potential hidden in man. Afterall all people are talented.
Thus it is strongly felt that a little parental caution will lead to responsible conduct on the part of the children and teenage population in avoiding dependency syndrome related to technology. We look forward to the day when children will be their realistic self and refrain from being led by likes and comments on their social media