Keep an eye on your child while growing with technology

The life today — for both the old and young — is different from what it had been a few decades back. The technology had not been as advanced and convenient as today. There was neither Internet for gaming nor was there any social media platform. We didn’t have the same technology that we have today. As children we were outside home during our leisure time with our friends either playing or engaging in face to face talks.
The advancement in technology and the expansion of Internet in different formats including cellphones has crept into interactions among individuals.
Children are very much at the forefront of this technological revolution that we are witnessing today. By the time the toddlers enter the middle school, they are up-to-date on technology.
While the benefits of technology cannot be denied, parents need to understand how excessive exposure can impact the personality and health of their young children.
A few weeks back, one of my friends told me he was happy that his son is super tech savvy. He said proudly that he sought his son’s help in solving problems with his computer and mobile. At the same time, he said that he constantly keeps a watch on his son’s activities and finds time to interact with him.
“As parents, it is a great thing to spend time with children, go for an outing at least once in a week. But what is more important is a moderate approach”, he told me referring to the excessive use of Internet by children.
While children seem entertained using devices such as tablets, television, cellphones, and computers, it is important to maintain a balance with other activities and quality family time.
Studies have found that mobile screen time, which refers to children’s use of mobile phones and tablets begins at a very tender age.
In a Common Sense Media Plus post, a 13-year-old complained that his parents always take his phone away from him.
“I get angry when my mum asks me to close down the tab. Only in the evening when I come from the school I get time to see the pictures that my friends sent to me. But very often I do it secretly. She doesn’t allow me to browse or chat with my friends”, he writes.
Of course, Internet safety is a huge concern — and even more when it relates to our children.
Extended exposure to digital media has been linked to delayed cognitive development, and may also hinder the formation of healthy physiological and psychological resilience. Studies show that children who regularly use the Internet and play video games exhibit more anxiety and depression.
They can also be more impulsive, moody, and have difficulty maintaining focus. They may experience social anxiety due to a lack of social skills and are more likely to express feeling bored or unhappy at school.
According to Dr Hassan Mirza, Consultant, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, this can lead to a wide range of challenges including trouble making friends, attention deficit resulting in poor performance in schools, and in more severe cases, to irritability and aggression.
“We have dealt with cases in which youngsters behaving with rage and destroying furniture and household items after the parents took away the gaming console on which they were spending endless hours on”, he says.
It’s incredibly important to monitor children’s activity when browsing the Internet in order to ensure that they aren’t going places they shouldn’t. It’s also important that they know everyone they are in contact with online – as you don’t want them interacting with less than favourable people.
Luckily there are tools to monitor children’s activity online. They are programmes which can block certain websites, turn off Internet access at different times and monitor the websites that the children are going on.
Also we cannot ignore the fact that Internet has become an inescapable reality with today’s young generation as the modern technology provides endless benefits like improved academic and other skills.
In any case, it’s important to monitor your child’s Internet activity until they are much older!