Remember the time when kids used to trade napkins and footballer cards, play dress up and fall asleep in mum’s shoes? When hide and seek was an actual game and not an app your kid needs to download and play virtually with their friends at school? Ah, how times have changed!
It’s all about tablets and smartphones nowadays and every parent is probably totally spooked. It’s something we don’t really understand fully, hence the freak out. However, while kids nowadays are deprived of a childhood as we remember it – with our knees and elbows scratched from running around and tripping over god-knows-what just to get somewhere first, or gathering the gang together to watch a series of cartoons that used to air just before bedtime, they are getting another sort of childhood – one seemingly more intellectual and “smart” than ours was. It’s a sort of education that will turn out to be more than useful for their scholarly futures and that will, in time, prepare them for the world of competition, ideas and the best solutions. Smartphones are making that possible.
Debates on whether children should or should not be given gadgets at their early age are diverse and many, but you know what they say – every parent for themselves. With the best intention in mind, every loving parent will put their child’s health, happiness, joy and best interests first and orchestrate their allowed pleasures (like spending a certain amount of hours on their smartphone) accordingly. And it’s not all that bad. Once you give the smartphone revolution a chance, you’ll realise how great and educational games for kids of all ages are. Sure, there are those that are absolutely mind-numbing and should never be on your child’s list of pleasures, but au contraire to those, there are apps that will interest even you, the parent! If I said my niece (three years old) learned a few sentences in Spanish by playing some game on her tablet, would you believe it? Well, it happened! Blew. My. Mind.
As research explains, too much time with a smartphone or tablet goes hand-in-hand with excessive radiation, sight damage and sore wrists, which is why you, as a parent, shouldn’t take your kids’ smartphone use lightly; parental guidance is strongly suggested and advised, especially if you can make it a benefit for yourself, too. How so? I’ll explain in a minute. With the crazy, hectic lives we live, it’s getting almost impossible to find some time for ourselves. You juggle the work, the family, the kids, the everyday errands, social meetings etc and in the end, you find yourself absolutely exhausted with no time for you. It’s not that you don’t enjoy everything about your life, you do, and you do adore your little ones, but being a mother doesn’t mean depriving yourself of all of life’s pleasures (or even sleep and time to do something for your soul) and becoming a slave to everyday chores. This where the use of a smartphone becomes double handy – it’s not only giving your kids a chance to entertain themselves and learn something new through awesome apps (check Poptropica walkthrough, it’s my personal favorite), but it’s giving you an opportunity to chill out and, say, wash your hair, send the report to your boss, watch your favorite show or finally do something with those chipped nails! Doesn’t sound too shabby, right?
Feeling guilty for even considering “exposing your child to radiation so you could do your nails”? Of course you are, but stop it immediately. Here’s the silver lining – unless you leave your kid with a smartphone, computer or tablet for hours on end, nothing harmful can happen. Just dose it up! Also, know that on a cognitive level, by spending some time with the smartphone in their hand, your child may actually get an amazing positive cognitive and emotional stimulation!
So, my darling, hop off of the guilt-wagon and learn to give yourself a break, while letting your child enjoy some fun too!