Though technology is a boon, many children are slowly getting addicted to it. Gadget hygiene, like physical hygiene or emotional hygiene, is very important for the family to prevent its misuse. Following are some ways to keep a tab on the wrong use of technology.
Give a cell phone, do not gift it
Whenever a cell phone is given to a child, do not provide it as an incentive, as a gift for birthday, for scoring well in exams or for any achievement. Give it just like how one gives a shoe or a raincoat for daily use. Never create an aura around it or do not view it as an item such as a football or a cricket bat.
Bedroom for all cell phones
Health of the cell phone is very important. So, let it sleep after a particular time at night on a designated table that is its bedroom. All phones should lie there at night and should not be a companion next to the pillow or under a bed sheet. Parents should adhere to this rule, so that children follow the same.
Cell phones or laptops need not accompany children during study time. Be firm on this rule. Parents should not move around with theirs, too, while roaming around the house. Some kids insist that they need to listen to music or connect with their friends while studying, but this should be dissuaded.
Food needs no companion
While having lunch or dinner inside the house or outside, parents need to put their gadgets away. Hell will not break loose if the gadgets are kept aside during this time. It is difficult to discipline children, if parents do not follow simple rules.
No laptops behind locked doors
Laptops or Internet access for children needs to be in open space, preferably the drawing room. Children need to know that laptops are neither sedatives nor pillows to help them sleep. Staying up late at night regularly with gadgets destroys the sleep cycle and subsequently, health.
Play with hands and legs, not fingers, kids
Children need to play with their hands and legs and not their fingers. Even if their friends are not around, they may go for a run, ride a bicycle or indulge in any physical game. Playing games on the Internet or a cell phone while waiting outside a doctor’s clinic or during a short break while studying is not advisable.
The author is a psychiatrist at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital in Powai