When was the last time you lived a day without using your cellphone/laptop/tablet. Especially with the ongoing pandemic locking people inside and forcing millions to work from home, it is our only means to stay connected to our office, friends and family, and the entire world. But this has taken a toll on our mental health. The most vulnerable group of all is our children, the future of our society. It has been found that children are experiencing a whole lot of psycho-social issues like low self-esteem, depression, screen addiction, and many more.
Addiction to technology can be discussed endlessly, but no one can discount the advantages that caused the addiction in the first place. From staying connected to the world to getting loads of information in a flash of a second, technology has answer to practically every issue that we face in day today life. But the damage it does, stays unrecognized for years at a stretch. Some of the ailments that arise from prolonged use of digital gadgets are:
1. Straining of eyes due to continuous stare at screens
2. Tendonitis at thumb and wrist joint due to their use in unnatural positions while using the keyboard and touch screen phones.
3. Hearing loss due to use of earphones for listening music at high volumes
4. Neck pain and tension headaches because of bending it down for long hours while working on computers
5. Working in artificial light for long can upset body’s natural circadian rhythms and lead to mood and sleep disorders.
6. Living in the virtual world of technology, people often loose connection with the real world leading to social isolation and depression.
So everybody knows that the problem indeed exists, but what is the solution? Simple steps can go a long way in saving you and your children from this menace.
1. Try and get out of the room. Breathe some fresh air in the balcony. Let the natural light replace the artificial light.
2. Do not turn to google for every question. Nature has installed every human being with a very powerful search engine i.e the brain. Note down what your brain thinks on a certain issue before hitting the google.
3. As the Mayo clinic advices, go for a 20-20-20 break. Stare at something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
4. Make a point to switch off all your screens an hour before you go to sleep. Let your eyes rest and the normal sleep circadian rhythm to set in.
5. Talk, talk and talk; with your family, parents, children and friends. Nothing beats a face to face connect.
And most importantly for children, they see their parents and elders as their role models. So practice yourself before asking your kids to follow it. Minimize your duration of TV and internet and take time off your work to spend time with them. The “work from home” culture leaves a very thin line between personal and professional life. Please don’t erase it all together. When with them, let everything else stay away.
You might never get this time to bond with them again.