12 Ways to Keep Your Children Healthy in the Digital Age

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By: Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D.
Pposted: May, 21, 2018

1. Manage screen time.

When parents manage screen time for kids, they help children discover other healthy ways to find meaning in life. Kids create a balance between interacting with technology and developing real-life relationships with humans.

2. Promote physical activity.

A growing body of research shows that excessive screen time contributes to the inactivity and obesity crisis in today’s youth. Learn how nature fosters happiness, and encourage your children to be physically active.

3. Monitor mental wellness.

Researchers have associated the growth of social media and technology use with rising rates of depressionanxiety, and suicide. Parents who are well-informed about childhood trauma and the symptoms of mental illness can act more quickly to help children in need. 

4. Practice stress-reduction.

The Global Wellness report says, “the biggest challenges to mental wellness appear to come, not from the technology itself, but from the added pressures and pace of life in the digital age.” Children are always accessible, responsive to their peers, and use social media to compare themselves to others. When parents introduce kids to mindfulness meditation and various techniques for stress-reduction and relaxation, they can boost their children’s health and well-being. 

5. Foster peer friendships.

It is easy to imagine that social media increases connectivity and friendships for children. However, there is a growing sense of loneliness in today’s children and teens. Parents should encourage children to become involved in shared activities that provide social interaction in real time.

6. Use online health resources.

There is now a wealth of health information available online for parents to investigate health symptoms of concern and learn about prevention. One such database is the Mayo Clinic Symptom Checker.

7. Explore wellness apps.

Wellness and exercise apps help promote healthier lifestyles for children and parents. Many can be shared, making learning and fitness fun and more challenging. 

8. Set rules for bedtime.

There is growing evidence that digital devices in bedrooms deter children and adolescents from the sleep they desperately need. Establish rules that the whole family will follow, leaving devices to charge elsewhere overnight.

9. Talk about distraction and safety.

When smartphones are in use, it takes attention away from other things. Young drivers are at much higher risk of driving while distracted. Children should understand that their health and safety come first, before technology.

10. Discuss the difference between productivity and technology.

Research from the Global Wellness report suggests that advances in technology have not coincided with increases in productivity. In fact, productivity in most developed countries has declined with the advent of smartphones. Some believe that smartphones enhance our daily lives, not necessarily our efficiency to get things done. Children’s productivity and achievement are still driven by becoming goal setters, and learning how to commit to an outcome while seeking feedback and support.

11. Talk with kids about digital ethics and citizenship.

As children grow into adolescence, families should talk about and set guidelines on the following: What kind of personal information is shared online? How do children communicate online? How do they debate important issues? How do they become good digital citizens? A few resources include the SafeKids.com Family Contract for Online Safety Parents’ Pledge and Kids’ Pledge.

12. Cultivate and nurture the human spirit.

As technology rapidly advances, real-world human experiences are declining. Encourage your children to play, create, be curious, and dream. Join tech giant Tristan Harris in his new venture at the Center for Humane Technology to reverse the digital attention crisis and realign technology with humanity’s highest calling.  

Resources:https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-moment-youth/201805/12-ways-keep-your-children-healthy-in-the-digital-age

Comment: This article talks about the different methods to cope or mitigate the impact of technology on child. I think this article can be helpful for our team in the future as we are approaching to problem solving stage.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Menga,
    Thinking about where your project is headed now, I think the part of this article that talks about the difference in productivity and technology could be useful for reminders about mental health. Sometimes productivity can be beneficial to mental health, so sitting on a time-sucking social media could be harmful.

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