Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives. Not just adults, but its usage has incessantly increased among kids as well. Though it is completely wrong to say that the use of technology may only bring ill-effects to the child but prolonged usage of phones in kids can easily turn into addiction. Hence, it is the role of a parent that can make an impact on children. It is important for parents to know how effectively they can reduce the usage of mobile phones in children.
Tips To Keep Kids Away From Mobile Phones
Paediatrician Dr Subhash Rao from Hiranandani Hospital Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital states some simple tips to keep kids away from mobile phones without making them agitated and disheartened.
1. Do Not Completely Shun The Use of Technology
In times to come, the usage of phones and technology is only to grow. Hence this is not the time for parents to crib how mobile phone brands are constantly bringing out new models and technology to deviate kids. The need here is to make kids understand how mobile phones are not only meant for games, but it is extremely helpful in maintaining communications with their loved ones. Dr Rao explains, “Teach kids to use phones to call their loved ones, be it their grandparents or even school friends to discuss about school projects. Phones can also be a medium for children to carry out research work for school. Make sure your kids pick phones to stay connected with their loved ones. However, parental monitoring is a must. Be around your children when they are speaking on the phone. The usage of phones can bring wonders in a child’s development, if used effectively.”
2. Do Not Use Mobile As A Distraction Or As A Reward For Good Deed
In several cases, parents promise their children to use mobile phones for extra hours if they finish their meals on time or on completion of homework. Instead, parents should teach kids that mobile phones can be a great source for research or to learn educations activities. It is also commonly seen that parents end up giving their children mobile phones to keep them distracted for extra time for chores. Dr Rao stresses that this can set a wrong precedence in children. Make kids understand that mobile phones can be a great source of learning.
3. Dedicate One Spot At Home As ‘No Tech Zone’
It is impossible to completely put a stop on the usage of mobile phones in kids. However, some spots in your home should be ‘gadget-free zones”. Use of mobile phones at specific time and for fixed hours is completely fine, but some common ‘gadget-free’ zones can be the bedroom, dining table, balcony/terrace/gardens, etc. Parents can ensure kids eat their meals without any gadget kept on the table, bedrooms to be utilised for story-telling and reading for pleasure and other places where children can play some kind of sports or take up any recreational activity.
4. Parents Should Be A Role Model
Dr Rao believes that a child learns the most from the parents. So, if the child will see the parent glued to the phone, he/she may inculcate the same habits. Parents should make it a point to not be on their phones every time. Just like how kids are supposed to have some time away from their phones, the same should be followed by the parents as well. The best way to do is to have a ‘no device time’ at home where you are only interacting with the child without the phone in your hand. As stated in the first point, show your child that phones can be more than a device for shopping or surfing. Instead, parents should also make it a point to call their loved ones to educate children on the right way to use mobile phones for limited time only. Rules like ‘no mobiles on the dining table’, even for adults, can bring a positive change in children.
5. Appreciate Your Child When Away From Phones
Mobile phones are certainly exciting for children, and hence they will always try to make their way to the phones if not given proper attention. As a parent, make sure you appreciate your child for taking up new activities. Shower praises when they come to you with some sort of a drawing or a craft piece. Doing all this will make the child more inclined towards those activities, hence reducing the urge to use phones in free time.
Lastly, Dr Rao says that completely cutting the use of mobile phones is not the right solution to curb mobile phone addiction in kids. It is all about tackling the situation with great care. As parents, be role models to your children and explain why and how mobile phones should be used for its positive impact.
(With inputs from Dr Subhash Rao, Pediatrician, Hiranandani Hospital Vashi-A Fortis Network Hospital)