Technology and the internet are the biggest game changers to have impacted almost every aspect of our lives and every industry in a big way, globally. Twitter had declared 2014 as the year of the selfie and had Kim Kardashian “breaking the internet”. This year has the whole world celebrating the royal arrival and christening of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s baby number two, Princess Charlotte with much ardor. Though technology has done wonders to simplify our lives and break geographical barriers, we cannot ignore that it also has a flipside.
Stats on Impacts of Technology on Teenagers
According to a report published in the Pew Reasearch Center website, 92% teenagers go online every day, and 24% of them are constantly online. 84% of the boys and 59% of girls play video games on their phones or online. These stats only go to prove that teenagers today have greater access to technology platforms (especially smartphones) and are spending a lot of time using them. Not only can technology overuse (or misuse) impact their physical health, but also their emotional and mental wellbeing. Here are five ways you can deal with the negative impact of technology on teenagers.
5 Ways to Deal with The Negative Impacts of Technology on Teenagers
- Avoid Overindulging Your Teens – “Mom, dad, my friend’s parents bought him a new phone; I should have one too!” How often have you heard your teenager rant about the expensive gadgets his friends keep getting showered with, and how often have you given in to his demands? As parents, you want to ensure that you do everything to keep your child happy, but much before your child’s happiness should come his security and good health. Remember, by being overindulgent, you are putting your child at a greater risk of obesity, insomnia, social seclusion, cyber bullying and many other dangers. Keep your child’s age and absolute necessities in mind before gifting him pricey gadgets like tabs, smartphones and gaming consoles.
- Maintain An Open-Door Policy – Agreed that teenagers today demand their “space and privacy”, but what requires their room’s door to be closed isn’t necessarily something pleasant. As much as your teen disputes your decision, insist that everyone in the house should maintain an open door policy unless when exceptional scenarios crop up. Though initially there might be a lot of unrest due to your new inclusion in your home’s code of conduct, over time your teen will get used to it.
- Set A Cap On Screen Time – Tired of seeing your teen smiling at his smartphone, with his head bent down, every time and everywhere (dinner table included)? Probably what you need to do is introduce a cap on the amount of screen time he is allowed. Keep a keen eye on your teen’s use of gadgets, and accordingly set a limit on how much he should be allowed to use in a day. Ensure you clearly communicate to your child about places where these gadgets are off-bound, such as the dining table, family outings, school, hobby classes, etc
- Encourage Resilience – Teenagers, especially those aged 13-15 are highly impressionable. You cannot (and should not) expect your teen to stay off the internet completely. It is, however, important that you teach him about all possible dangers of the worldwide web and the right ways to deal with them. A recent study conducted by the Penn State University suggests that improving your child’s capability to cope with the risks of being online is a more useful strategy than forcing him to stay away from the internet completely. Doing this will help your teen understand the right way to react to a request for nudes that he may receive online, rather than making him disgruntled about not being allowed to use the technology at all.
- Do Things Together – The more time you spend together as a family, the lesser are the chances of your teen facing the brunt of the technology and its negative impacts. Plan an outing together as a family every week such as camping, picnics, and other adventure activities. Take the time to speak to your teen about his life, the problems he may be facing, etc. It is important that your teenager believes you are more like his friend than his parent. Doing this will give him the faith that you won’t judge him for his wrongdoings and will always be there for him, whatever happens. The sense of reassurance helps a great deal if your teen is experiencing trouble; he will be less resistant to open up to you about it.
Make sure your teen is a part of many co-curricular activities that keep him physically and mentally occupied and driven. Try to bring about a discipline into his daily schedule and don’t hold back from bringing him on the right track if he seems to go astray. Always remember, it’s not the technology that is the cause of troubles; it is its abuse!
Aradhana for TheMomsBuzz.com
About the guest author. Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally Savvy, Curejoy and MomJunction.com, Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.