Your Child’s Well Being in Mind
Parenting With Your Child’s Well Being in Mind
As a good parent you work to give your children everything they need to succeed, right? From the moment of birth many parents set out to put their children on the right path to a successful future by providing essential food, shelter and clothing and seeking the best education possible. Well into the computer age we are repeatedly told that children must have the right tools for success so they won’t become technologically illiterate. We rush to purchase the latest and greatest electronic gadgets never considering the adverse consequences of over indulgence or misuse. These devices are so prevalent today that young children, even infants are often observed perilously clutching a costly smart phone, now considered the 21st Centuries babysitter.
There is nothing new under the sun. Over indulgence in anything is not healthy! Children lose far more than they gain by obsessively staring at electronic devices creating sensory overload. Overuse can lead to a loss of communication, writing and comprehension skills, causing kid’s to become less social which leads to feelings of isolation, depression and a lack of interest in athletics and other outdoor activities. A common occurrence is to see children and adults alike mesmerized by their phones, tablets or computers awaiting that next text message, phone call or binge watching videos and games, etc.. These habits do not bode well for our current obesity epidemic or intellectual pursuits. Electronics before bedtime interrupts that all important good night’s sleep children require to focus on schoolwork, causing them to suffer from exhaustion and short attention spans resulting in a poor education. Children require a good nights sleep in order to function properly. According to neurologist, pediatrician, pulmonologist, Dr. Suresh Kotagal of the Mayo Clinic, ”…kids should be getting at least eight to nine hours of sleep every night, while teenagers can get by on seven-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half. If we have a fixed morning wake-up time, the bedtime itself will take care of itself”. Dr. Kotagal added, “So, I think just having a fixed, morning wake-up time seven days a week is a good idea.”
Remember you are the parent not your child’s friend. Set strict parameters on the amount of time children spend online and on all electronic devices, e.g., t.v., tablets, computers, electronic games, digital music players, etc. . Instead engage your children in outdoor activities by taking them on a bike ride or long walk, using time together to communicate about their day. Make certain your children are getting sufficient sleep enabling them to focus on schoolwork. Encourage them to read books from an early age by reading to them then having them read to you about subjects they enjoy. Never put the computer in your child’s bedroom. Place it instead in a family room nearby where you or another adult can readily monitor what they are viewing and doing online at all times.
Some children may rebel when you first set the rules, but please Never forget that the internet has always been the entire world online uncensored, an ideal place for unsupervised children of any age to be preyed upon and victimized. According to American Psychologist (February-March 2008, pg. 112) article entitled, “Online “Predators” and Their Victims,” “The offenders use Internet communications such as instant messages, e-mail and chat rooms to meet and develop intimate relationships with victims.”
Your child’s health and safety depend on the choices you make and are every bit as important as providing nutritious food, a roof over their heads and a decent education. Wishing you and your family good health, wellness and safety.
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