With the anticipated third wave of COVID right around the corner, schools and colleges are not opening anytime soon. Kids are spending most of their time on different gadgets either attending online classes, using different apps to learn new concepts, or on social media to see what their friends are up to. Gadget addiction among children during lockdown has become a cause of concern.
According to a recent study conducted by Jaipur-based JK Lone Children’s Hospital, teens’ addiction to electronic devices during the lockdown has increased up to three times. Children are now spending between two and five hours daily on their favourite gadgets. Here’s what parents need to do to keep their children away from gadgets.
Simple steps on how to keep your child away from gadgets
The massive dependency on gadgets for both young and old has been one of the knock-on effects of staying indoors. With the world still under partial lockdown, movements are restricted. Kids and adults spend most of their time indoors and look for ways to stimulate their brains. Since screens induce reward mechanisms, we often see them as stimulating and get addicted.
Preventing gadget addiction
Preventive measures are necessary to ensure that your child does not spend too much time in front of gadgets. Here’s how to keep your child away from gadgets:
First things first, remember children mimic their parents. If they see you spending a lot of your time on gadgets, they will end up doing the same. So, lead by example and focus on cultivating healthy habits for yourself (to encourage your kids to follow the same.
Do not melt away
As a responsible parent, you need to ensure your child has a healthy lifestyle and healthy habits. This requires you to make tough decisions. Do not fall in for the cajoling and pleading put your foot down on limiting unhealthy habits like too much gadget time. Explain to them the negative effects of too much screen time. Give them logical reasoning behind your decision.
According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, there should be NO screen-time for kids under 18 months, and ONE hour per day for kids between 2-5 years. Beyond this, try and limit screen time as much as possible (especially digital media) and do not let it exceed 2-3 hours per day at the very maximum. This is inclusive of TV, laptops, gaming, and mobile phone usage.
Also Read: Can Video Games Help People With Depression?
Set a daily limit on screen time
Decide upon an appropriate amount of screen time for your child, irrespective of the gadget. Give your child the option to watch TV, use the computer, etc. and let him choose what time of the day he wants to use the gadgets. This gives him a sense of freedom and involves him in making decisions too.
Stimulate their brain
Pique your child’s curiosity by involving him or her in enriching activities like board games, read-aloud sessions, sports sessions, art and craft time, etc.
Do not have too many gadgets in the house
Only invest in gadgets based on their useability. Although kids might trick you into buying the latest version of every game or laptop, it is best to stick to the rules. Also, lock the gadgets when not in use. This allows your child to look for other engaging options to spend their free time.