Parents today face different challenges than the preceding generation. My parents for sure did not need to constantly remind me of the length of time I was playing computer games. The only game console we had was Nintendo, which was played solely for “Mario Brothers” by my brothers.
In fact, I could not remember playing much. We were always busy with household chores, school activities, sports training, life skills, and survival training like camping, farming, fishing, and tons of other family adventures. It was a different time. Truly, everything changed, but if I had an opportunity to raise my kids in the kind of environment I was raised in, I would take it in a heartbeat.
I can only wish for it, but I am grounded, and I am well aware of reality. The amount of distraction and temptations that surround our children these days is overwhelming. Parents like us are always fearful because even at home, danger exists in the form of technology. There is no escape. There seems to be no safe place for our kids these days. Welcome to the digital era!
Teens and children as little as two years old carry and use electronic devices all the time. More often than we thought, parents are at fault, too. Be honest. How many times have you given your cellphone to your toddler to stop crying? I am guilty. I won’t deny those times when I willingly handed over my phone to my youngest to keep her out of my way. Despite setting up parental controls, there is still danger, and there is no telling how effective those parental controls are.
So, what guarantee do parents have that their children have not unintentionally or unknowingly joined a gaming public server with predators? None. Right? The best thing that we can do is to educate our children about online danger because we are not with them 24/7. We can only teach and warn them, but the ultimate decision is on them.
On top of all that concern, parents also worry about the adverse effects of prolonged electronic use. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ newest screen time recommendation, parents are encouraged to allow screen time, but in moderation. There is no defined number of hours that kids should be allowed to use digital devices. That is because AAP acknowledges the fact that technology has become a valuable component in today’s learning.
We can’t let our children live devoid of electronic devices. The world embraced technological innovations decades ago. It all became an important part of our lives. Yet, the question remains: Do benefits outweigh the adverse effects? When do we consider gaming an addiction?
Taking into consideration the fact that children and teens use their tablet, chromebook, or laptop at school all day means that game time is already extra time spent using electronic devices. How do parents ensure balance between physical activities and virtual activities in children? We all know that kids, especially teens, refuse to stop when you ask them to. It is a real struggle. A constant bout between parents and children.
The use of technology moved the world forward, but it is an undeniable stressor for most parents. Although this may not be true to all families, I am convinced that the majority of parents can relate. In our case, no matter how much we want to think that our children are close to perfect, they are not. They, too, from time to time, are hard to pull out when they are playing their games.
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