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They say having children is a blessing, one of those rare human experiences that come with a great sense of accomplishment. But when problems start piling up, the voluntary choir of optimistic voices is somehow reduced to a solitary cricket song.
Then, one day, you catch a glimpse of your reflection in the mirror and the first thing you see are those dark circles under your eyes, the place where worries and sleepless nights now live. Let’s be honest – in that brief moment, a single question seems to rule supreme: ‘What was I thinking?’
Trials of Our Times
Being a parent today means dealing with unique challenges. When your kids discover modern gadgets and get ‘absorbed’ by their appeal, get ready to over flex your parenting muscles. It’s commonplace these days to see teenagers (and lots of adults for that matter) walking as a group, their eyes glued to the display of their iPhones, ignoring everyone and everything.
Parents now face the paradox of having to persuade their kids to actually go outside and interact with their peers, without using any device as an intermediary. And it’s not easy to find balance either – the usefulness of having different devices around (especially when safety and rapid communication are at stake) is undeniable.
The advancements of mobile technology improved all major aspects of our lives. We can talk to people around the world in a matter of seconds, get almost instant access to an array of information sources and, most importantly, stay connected to our peers and environment. There’s no doubt about it, mobile technology grew to be both an asset and a very important part of our daily lives.
But its tremendous potential seems to go south whenever teenagers are involved and many parents start second-guessing their decisions when they see their kids get so quickly taken in by mobile devices. The last decade has put forward a number of theories on how the young mind chooses and validates its patterns, however, the practical issue still lingers: we still find it hard to consensually limit the time teenagers dedicate to phones and laptops.
The ‘Need-to-Worry’ Conversation
According to data collected by a team of researchers at Oxford University, parents should start worrying about their children’s mental and social health impact if they constantly go over the 4 hours a day phone usage threshold.
But, in all fairness, there aren’t only downsides to this story – using gadgets and keeping up with technology can have positive effects as well. Digital immersion was shown to build upon creativity, communication skills and development drivers much faster than any other methods used in the past.
The bottom line is simple:
if you want your kids to gain clarity and perspective, make sure you help them balance the time they spend in both the real and the virtual worlds. Obviously, youngsters will always try to sneak in extra phone-time but fear not parents – you too have tools to ensure leverage.
Gadget-specific apps will enable you to monitor and set boundaries on their utilization. As a parent, your main preoccupation is keeping your kid happy, healthy and safe. When they are little and their daily routines depend almost exclusively on you, the job is somehow easier. But as they grow up and start going out and about, ensuring their safety is a different game.
Here is where the mobile phone comes in handy; one push of a button and you’re connected to your child. Should simple phone calls not be useful enough, apps installed on your kids’ mobile phones will definitely do the trick. We’ll give you a head start and encourage you to visit Family Orbit to learn more about all the options you could consider – it will be time well spent.
The Best Conclusion Ever
We all have different stories to tell when it comes to our children and their/our struggles – that’s only natural. The changes that we witness today are not by accident, more will be added to the big picture in the future. Still, if your gut is telling that you need to be more careful about the information they’re exposed to, or the time they spend viewing it, don’t hesitate to act – remember, it’s your responsibility!
Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.