We are in a world of technology that is here to stay. Do we need to Digitally Detox?
In the past ten years, we have made more advancement in technology than the advancement of anything on earth, ever. It has swept us up so fast how are we coping, are we coping and what issues is it presenting?
Boundaries are needed for all human beings otherwise anarchy will reign. Technology is great – in moderation. The technology we now have is essential to all our lives. It enables us to communicate with anyone from where ever we are. We can call, text, Skype, FaceTime, or post anywhere at any time. Is this always a good thing? Many say absolutely however if you read some of the latest research you may change your mind and start to understand that too much of this technology is starting to cause some significant psychological and physical issues.
We are now finding kids suffering from speech impediments, lacking ability to use imagination skills – always needing to be entertained, being deprived of social interactions and develop isolating behaviours.
One in four children are said to be obese, many now suffering eyesight issues, fine motor skills problems, posture concerns. Adolescents are isolating themselves and adults experiencing relationship issues – all blamed on too much screen time.
There is a new thought wave hitting us in a bid to counteract these issues we find now presenting. This is the new 5:2 rule. It involves 5 days of unlimited screen time and 2 days of abstinence. I do not think this will work. For children it isn’t too bad except the unlimited screen time is crazy. We need to instil boundaries for our children to learn and understand what that means and to enable them to develop other skills, not just screen time skills.
Children need to run around, burn off energy, develop fine and gross motor skills, socially interact, use their imagination and find their entertainment instead of having a game or device provide it all. Skills are what children develop in their early and formative years, and we are only now experiencing for the first time this new technology age of our youngest children being exposed to devices from the first weeks of their life.
Research is telling us now some of the issues being discovered from children having too much screen time, these include:
• Problems being identified indicate emotional and psychological problems developing
• Hyperaroused nervous systems
• Lack of regenerative sleep
• Sensory overload
• Damage / shrinkage of brain matter relating to planning, organising, prioritising, social impulses
• Failure to learn and show empathy, compassion and ability to read emotional signals.
This is greatly concerning. What then is the solution to resolve these issues while being able to continue with our technology obsession? Boundaries, restriction and awareness, is required. Of course, we are all going to continue using our devices however with this technology comes responsibility especially for our children. We also need to be aware that our children will mimic our behaviour so if parents have their heads buried in their phone or devices, the children will emulate this and believe it is normal behaviour.
Tips to balance our screen time include:
1. We need to develop boundaries on time spent on devices
2. Never sleep with the phone in the room, place it on charge in another room
3. No blue screen time 1 hour before sleep
4. No devices at the dinner as this needs to be a time to sit, talk, exchange ideas, laugh
5. Turn off notifications sounds
6. Set certain times a day to check and post on social media
7. Set times for kids of 30 min time frames and ensure they do other things in between, like colour in, help to cook, play blocks or lego, kick balls, play dolls or dress-ups, etc.
By making these small adjustments can lead to so many improved health, psychological and emotional changes. It can increase communication skills, improve health, relax our mind and redevelop ability to sleep better.