My son is hooked into gadgets. Although he is only five, he spends a lot of time playing games on my tablet, or cellphone. Or, he wants to watch something on Youtube or on TV. Is this healthy? – R.V.
A growing number of urban parents face this problem. This generation is growing up with gadgets, and is tech-savvy. This has its advantages, but, as in all things, balance is important.
Kids too hooked to gadgets could end up neglecting physical activities like free play, sports and outdoor exploration.
Moreover they are likely to be spending far less time on social activities such as going out and chatting with friends than they should.
The solution is to make time to study exactly what your child is doing/watching, and offering choices based on the best apps/programmes/videos available, that would capture her interest. Eliminate TV channels and apps that seem to be having a negative effect.
Restrict time spent on gadgets so your child is forced to do a variety of other things.
Watch your own behaviour. Do you spend too much time hooked into gadgets? Kids often end up emulating their parents in such matters.
Managing gadget addiction
• Set strict time limits for the use of gaming devices, television and computers.
• Work with your child to make age-appropriate media and entertainment choices. Help him/her choose a mix of educative and entertaining apps/programmes.
• Download apps that help in skill-building, e.g, teaching music.
• Choose interactive media content instead of mindless TV viewing.
• Spend time finding out what your child enjoys doing.
• Provide opportunities for participating in differing activities like sports and group games.