The world is spinning with new technologies and we, the human inhabitants, are the willing prey! Cindy Glass, Director and Co-founder of Step Up Education Centres says “With ever-increasing time spent on smartphones, iPads and in front of live-streamed TV, we are in danger of losing our humanness. Teeny toddlers, vulnerable teens, exhausted parents and even bored grandparents can be seen, heads-down, shoulders bent and disengaged from the real world as they spend endless hours scrolling through their devices. Losing a smartphone is a big deal and people often feel a loss which is akin to losing a much-prized body part!”
Cindy highlights the following negative effects of too much screen time and says that they are serious enough for us, as parents, to STOP and take note!
• It affects cognitive development in young children as it literally effects the way in which our children’s brains develop!
• Too much screen time stifles creativity, imagination and playfulness which are essential to the wholesome development of children.
• Concentration, critical thinking, memory and other learning skills are effected as children focus mindlessly on information (whether real or not) as it just pours effortlessly into their subconscious!
• It affects mental and physical health as people become increasingly inactive and detached from the real world.
• It will harm your relationship with your children. With parents and children spending too much time on their devices, they run the risk of losing the positive human connections that are key to happy relationships! Children feel unacknowledged, unheard and unnoticed and this leads to negative behaviours, anxiety, stress and depression.
Cindy goes on to explain “We cannot ignore the dangers of too much exposure to the non-real world that the internet offers. We cannot afford to lose the beauty of life because we did not take a stand against the media (in all its forms)!”
Consider the following tips in reducing the amount of screen time that you allow for yourself and your children:
1. You have to set the example. Your children are more likely to do what you do, rather than what you say. You cannot expect your children to reduce their screen time if you do not do the same!
2. Have dedicated no-go-zones for devices. Family activities, mealtimes and even when driving in a car can be cell phone free zones.
3. Get outside! Plan activities that involve getting into nature- it is great for the soul and it will increase all the happy-hormones in your bodies!
4. Encourage your children to get involved in activities beyond the school environment-sport, drama, music and art are great examples.
5. Very young children need to play with their hands and bodies, not on a device.
Cindy closes by reiterating “Remember, as parents, we must set the example. REAL people, real love, real joy, real honesty and integrity cannot be experienced through the internet!”