Balance instead of banning: give children alternatives so that they naturally limit the use of technology. Do not condemn devices, seek a balance that helps them participate more of the real world. What do you think about the idea?
Children and technology
Since long before the pandemic, children have been immersed in the technological revolution. They were born into a hyper connected world and, after Covid-19, the use of digital platforms became the means of communication, learning and even socialization par excellence.
There is no turning back, digital tools are here to stay, but now it is up to us as parents to teach the new generations to enjoy the world as much as possible, at least as it was before.
The ban in China
Recently, in China, the authorities decided to prohibit the use of electronic devices to those under 18 years of age, outside the established hours. The restrictions included any devices like smart phones, and online video game companies cannot provide services to minors after hours. Children in that country can only play one hour a day between 8 and 9 at night, Fridays, weekends and holidays. The measure, announced by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), seeks to curb what the authorities call video game addiction. According to the Chinese government, this addiction is guilty of social illnesses, including distracting young people from their school and family responsibilities.
According to the research, Niños en un mundo digital (Children in a Digital World) carried out by UNICEF, the excessive use of digital technology can contribute to depression and anxiety in children. Although prohibition should never be the approach, we do have to give our children alternatives so that they understand by themselves that the world is better seen with their eyes, not though a screen.
“Children should be a little hungry, a little cold, and have less technology”
Alejandra Velasco, author of the book Ayuda, tengo hijos (Help, I have children), explains the need for balance in our little ones through a blunt statement: Children should be a little hungry, a little cold and have less technology. “With this, I mean hunger as the desire to do something for themselves. When I was a child, I remember that, for me, the best gift was going on a trip with my family; or if they asked me what I wanted, I had many options, I was hungry to know the world. Now you ask a lot of kids what they want and they say they don’t know”. “Cold means let him struggle a bit. But this is what goes on these days: if his shoes are a little worn, instead of polishing and cleaning them, you say you’ll buy new ones. And the last point is to have less technology, setting limits. Control the hours they watch television or use devices, but giving them alternatives, through consensus”, says the author.
Children require alternatives to technology
According to Velasco, it’s easy for moms to distract their kids with devices. “It’s very easy, really. You have them at home absorbed in the devices; you are tired, or you need to do other things”.
But children are made of imagination, and their creativity must be stimulated. To do this, the parenting expert recommends some measures:
- Give them artistic things to do: Whether inside the house or going to lessons (with precaution and hygiene measures), it is important that children explore their artistic side. Painting, crafts, building or even board games (chess, dominoes). “It can be once a week”, adds Velasco.
- Children need to play sports: The expert recommends that at least twice a week your little ones do sports or some vigorous physical activity. They have a lot of energy, they need to jump, run, get tired. Exercise will make them feel happy. Don’t miss: What if my partner doesn’t set limits on our children?
- Learn to play an instrument: Music is another option. It helps them coordinate their breathing, relax their pulse, learn to concentrate and control their emotions. The power of music puts children in good spirits. Try several instruments or just singing, look for something they like.
- Invite them to play: Regardless of Covid-19, we are in a world where children can no longer roam the streets alone safely, as in past generations. However, you can make yourself some time to accompany them.
“For example, after lunch or on the weekend, they will surely want the technology, but give them alternatives. You can tell them to go out and play hide-and-seek or invite them to walk the dog. Set a balance and try to lessen technology. The main point is to reach a middle point in upbringing”.
“It is a constant struggle with the children, but set a timer on it. Kids get into technology and they want to go on and on; there is no end. In the past, we used to go to sleep with a bed time video clip. Now it’s 8, 9, 11… 1 in the morning and there are still cartoons on TV”. They get the iPad and there is always content on YouTube. Remember that you are a mother, and mothers are here to encourage them, not to be permissive with them.
Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara
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