In the past, a group of children playing in the neighbourhood was a familiar sight. Not anymore. More than 70% of children all over the world spend time with their gizmos and gadgets. Drastically-reduced physical activity among today’s generation is the reason why a large number of youngsters in the world are obese. Research reveals that when a child makes the virtual world his/her best friend, he/she finds it difficult to cope with reality. Anti-social behaviour, feelings of emptiness, guilt and loneliness are prevalent among children who use gadgets daily. Let’s see what activities can help the young generation beat tech addiction.
* Young people should learn vocational skills which in turn, develop their mental as well as physical abilities.
* Parents could encourage their children to join organisations or centres for learning instruments, music and dance, cookery, drawing or designing, painting, playing chess and various other sports such as basketball, tennis, football, squash, swimming, cycling etc. Engaging in real rather than virtual activities will not only strengthen one’s cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, decision-making, thinking and problem-solving abilities but also boost self-confidence and self-esteem.
* One may also engage in daily activities such as helping in household chores, gardening or walking the dog.
* Gadgets are used much less in democratic families where parents have child-centric communication and children feel empowered and participatory about their lives. So, parents should have face to face child-centric interaction with their children. They don’t have to pamper the child but demonstrate their affection and caring nature.
Jitendra Nagpal is senior consultant psychiatrist and incharge, Institute of Life Skills and Mental Health Promotion, Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi and programme director - Expressions India, the National Life Skills Education and School Wellness programme