The onslaught of technological revolution has spared no one and the lot that’s been affected the worst seems to be teenagers, with their desperation to stay connected and their fear of missing out only making matters worse.
Educator Lina Ashar, the founder of Kangaroo Kids Pre-schools and Billabong High International Schools, located across 29 cities in India, Maldives, Qatar and Dubai, shares tips on how to best tackle this necessary evil and promote technology as a useful tool among teenagers.
1. Limit screen time, not just the use of the internet. Excessive exposure to any activity will become a bane; hence it is important to limit screen time. Speak to your children and come to a mutual consensus on the number of hours they would like to spend in front of a screen (TV, video games, laptop or phones). Plan out other activities they can do with the spare time they have.
2. Guide them to use technology for constructive purposes. Technology can be used for reading, enhancing analytical skills, editing videos and more. We, as parents, need to guide them and keep them engaged at every step.
3. Encourage physical interaction to develop interpersonal skills. Encourage your children to interact with other children. Let them take up a class of their choice (art, dance, music). Or encourage them to play outdoor games. This increases physical interaction with others and thereby improves interpersonal skills.
4. Fix time for the family. Use this time for various activities, outdoor as well as indoors. There has to be a fixed time of the day when the full family sits together and interacts. You can play board games, have a story-telling session, draw, head to a nearby park, among others. Children need to have a sense of belonging which comes only when a family spends time together.
5. Limit access to sensitive sites. It is very important to put child locks on sensitive sites and chat rooms, because you cannot be monitoring what your child is doing 24/7 and you need to make sure of your child’s safety.
6. Put your phones and laptops down when talking to your children. Children learn from their parents. If you want children to pay attention to what you are saying, you need to build that habit by giving them complete attention when they are talking to you.
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