How often do you find your teenager looking for their phones the minute they open their eyes? It has become their “morning ritual” to browse through the internet? Their day no longer starts with a good morning to you, but rather a like or a post on Instagram or maybe a tweet! Does it often happen that your toddler prefers the virtual world over real play?
Social media and electronic media is ruling our world and our lives.
Yes, technology is helping us grow and get more connected. It won’t be a surprise if your 10-year-old is teaching you how to use an iPad or any teenagers biggest fear being bullied on social media or a rumor being spread about them. The internet is helping our kids, however in the bargain making them a victim of electronic and social media.
Internet attraction can turn into an addiction in no time. It is common to find teenagers have this addiction and have stopped socializing and going to school. How and when do we draw the line? An attempt on your part to get them back to real world by switching off the Wi-Fi or taking away the phone is met with anger outbursts or threats?
- Set an example – Our children learn many behaviors through observation. As an adult we may find it difficult to step away from our phones, however, it is important that our actions speak louder than our words.
- A better replacement – The internet world can be a very intriguing space. So when we tell our children to not use the internet, we need to create activities to fill that void or space. For e.g. coffee dates, game nights, etc.
- Diet & Lifestyle – Junk food has replaced healthy food in our kitchens. Ensure that your kids have wholesome meals. Try to have most of your meals with your family, where TV and any electronic media is switched off. The rule-breaker should get a tiny punishment unanimously decided by the family.
- Token economy – Every person who has least used their gadgets when at home should receive a tiny prize at the end of the month. This will motivate your children to be more enthusiastic and participative towards your plan.
- Time limits – Beyond a certain hour, no member of the family should be allowed to use any form of gadget unless there is an emergency.
Don’t rush! Take one step at a time and analyze which intervention is effective in your household. Be patient when it comes to bringing any form of change in your family’s daily lives, you might fail a few times but keep trying as any habit will take time to break and success might be right at the corner. All the best we hope you win against the Internet world!
Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapis and Trauma Therapist
Jarma Wellness LLP