Innocence, inquisitiveness, mischief – for me these words define the essence of childhood. I too was always up to do some trick or question my parents and elders. They were very conscious while raising me. They handled all my pestering, troubling and questioning for they understood the process of child brain development.
Then came the era of digitalization. My parents, elders were hesitant to use the digital devices. But for people my age, it was easy to get accustomed to the digital media.
But today’s generation, my son, for instance, is a child born in the DIGITAL AGE, completely dependent on the digital media for playtime, leisure, studying and entertainment. It is because of the digital media, the world for him is a virtual space where he meets friends, connect with strangers and acquaintances and don a number of activities. I must admit here, that, my son and children of his age are The Touchpad generation, totally engrossed in the digital media without realizing that this virtual reality is preying on their innocence and is actually hampering the child brain development.
So, it becomes very important that we as parents safeguard our kids. And should teach them not to get handcuffed by the digital medium rather should utilize it. Because I was a playful kid and would like my son to be that way only, no matter how much technology is advancing.
So, we should be watchful of what they are doing and how they are using the internet while roaming in this virtual world.
As a responsible parent follow the below-mentioned pointers and ensure that your child’s innocence stays alive
- Talk openly with your child about the pros and cons of using the digitally advanced devices, do not scold them rather in a play way explain to them that they are harmful and should be completely avoided. Make them understand that too much viewing the devices actually strain the eyes, hamper the concentration, slows down the child development, make them more of an indoor person, hinder their peaceful sleeping, alter their personality etc.
- Stop your dependence on smartphones and digital media too. Because what the child sees is what they learn. So if you are too much engrossed in it they will compare it with themselves and will demand from you to allow them at the same time to be spent on such devices.
- Disable the apps or apply password protection to the apps that you believe will hinder your child development.
- Set your child’s screen time, a limit on his using and being present in the digital world. This will control their time spent on the device as well as surfing the internet.
- Make them use the digital media only in your presence. This includes the gadgets, notepads, smartphones, virtual reality headsets etc. This is to make them aware that they are being watched and will not be allowed to go off-limits.
- Make sure you know the password and email ids, social platforms your child is present on. Don’t let them share anything on any of these platforms without informing you. Mind you, the digital world is too dangerous and looks out for the soft targets to pounce upon!
- Tell them not to share any personal details or befriend any unknown person online. Help them understand that the digital world is not the place where they can behave candidly. They should not trust anyone rather should inform you about any such conversation. Feed their mind that it is a VIRTUAL WORLD out there and the real people are his/her family, friends, and relatives!
- Indulge with them in outdoor excursions, games, and activities. Be their role model by engaging yourself in the real world and with real people. Take them away from the smartphone world. Teach them that outdoor games, social gatherings, being with real people actually positively contributes to the child brain development which digital media fails to do.
- Inculcate in them the habit of reading from the book and not using digital media for learning purpose at all times. The best way is that you sit with them and read them the stories, ask to solve puzzles etc.
- Tell them not to download or install any software without seeking your permission.
- Keep a vigilant eye on all the privacy settings of your kid’s profile on social media sites.
- Install software on the computer or laptop to keep an eye on the activities your child does. As these are capable to block the access to inappropriate content online and in safeguarding from unexpected reactions/malicious content that may occur as a result of their activities on the internet.
- Tell them to behave in a limited manner and to be amiable with others while online. It is not a place to get personal be it their problem or yours. So tell them not to discuss anything which can bring them down by any means.
- Try to become your child’s confidante, for if they ever indulge in any unwanted activity while browsing online, they can come to you unhesitatingly knowing that you are there to protect them.
These are some ways through which you can ensure that your child will grow safely and securely. Adhere to them as these will protect your child’s innocence and development from getting lost in this digital media led virtual world.
Share with us how you believe the kids can be protected from this too much digitalization and the ways can contribute to the child development. Add more to this dossier and make the judicious use of digital world….