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How to stop children from playing with gadgets

Parenting is more difficult today than it ever was. There are so many challenges, and added to that is technology. Children today spend more time indoors with gadgets than outdoors, playing. This is a dilemma of practically every parent. How do parents keep their children away from gadgets?

Mobile phones, video games, television and the internet, these are the new age addictions that many parents have to deal with. Even toddlers, who can barely speak are addicted to mobile phones. It is an epidemic and it needs to be stopped.

So, why do children get addicted to electronic gadgets? Are parents today being over indulgent? Does this trend have to do with a new generation? Is it true that children today are tech savvy and therefore more likely to be hooked onto gadgets? Well, there are many theories as to why this is happening, but I find none of them convincing.

My take on this is simple. Children should do what children have done down the ages – run and play, get some sun, read, explore, create, think and just act their age! In short, their time with gadgets should be strictly regulated.

Fortunately, I have come across many parents who think on the same lines as I do. They want their kids to be off gadgets but do not how to make them do it. If you find yourself in the same cauldron as them, then this article might just be what the doctor ordered.

Your role as a parent

The first rule that you must know is that you are a parent, and you are in charge. You make the rules, you set the limits, you decide. You must let your kids take decisions, but only within limits. There has to be a boundary set because what you allow your children to do has an impact on their lives.

Should you intervene and set the rules about the use of electronic gadgets? Well, yes, you must.

Parenting is about challenges

Parenting is not easy, and you realise this every step of the way. Your kids throw new challenges at you and this current one is the latest in line. Let's face it gadgets offer hours of entertainment, games are action packed, and completing each level gives the kids an adrenaline rush and a boost to their egos. All this makes these gadgets highly addictive. You sure have a tough task ahead, of getting your kids of the virtual world, and be part of the real one. Be prepared for complaints, tantrums and sulking faces. Your kids aren't going to relent easily, prove that you are made of sterner stuff, and don't relent either.

Here are some suggestions to get your children off the gadget addiction –

Lead by example

It is easy to implement rules if they are applicable to you as well. Put aside your laptop, the mobile, the television remote for a few hours each day. Spend that time with your kids. Engage in activities that bring your family closer. There are a number of fun activities that you can do together as a family. Explore ideas and think of all the wonderful things you did as a kid, and introduce your kids to the same. Alternatively, you can get them started on a hobby. Try new ways to distract them into doing different things, but keep the stuff fun.

You'll be surprised to find your kids opening up to you. Gadgets, on the other hand, kill communication. Everyone just sits around doing their own thing. While real life activities encourage participation.

Introduce new elements

If the kids are going to be cooped up at home they will be drawn towards the television and other gadgets. Get them out of the house. Get them to join a martial arts class or a music class. Anything that doesn't involve the use of gadgets. There are so many skills that your children can master – just show them the way.

Avoid overdependence of gadgets

There was a time when children referred to books for information. Now, everything is available at the click of a mouse. How about discouraging your kids from picking up stuff from online tutorials. I understand it is convenient, but let's face the reality. It is also what contributes to the addiction.

Get them a library membership where they can browse through informative material printed on paper. Let them do things the old way. Teach them to make notes, and encourage writing. There should be a minimum age set for when children can learn to do things from online 'how to' videos. Until then, let kids be creative, and use their brains to work out things.

Encourage play and outdoor activities

Physical activity makes bones stronger and improves motor skills. Playing outdoors will also get your kids closer to nature. They'll get some sun and fresh air. They'll also learn people skills. Playing with other kids helps in developing social skills. They will learn to work as a team. They will learn major lessons of winning and losing. They will learn to cooperate They will learn to fight their own battles. They will learn to make friends. They will learn to make choices. They will learn to understand how different people behave. It is a great learning experience. Do not deprive your kids of this learning opportunity.

Assign tasks

Tasks can keep your kids away from gadgets. There will be protests at first, but keep at it and soon a routine that doesn't include gadgets will be set.

Older kids can be encouraged to read or to help in the kitchen. If you have more than one kid, they can either work together or take turns on alternate days to do simple chores. Like laying the table, or making a salad.

They could be encouraged to narrate something that they have read about, or even seen on the net. (Yes, the net is allowed, it's not prohibited completely).

Younger kids can join in too. After all who doesn't like a little bit of play acting.

Follow simple rules

  • No screaming and/or shouting and showing you're in charge. Instead, talk to your kids in a convincing way
  • Be prepared for resistance. Keep at it, ask them for suggestions on how they'd like to spend their time
  • Ration gadget time. They can use gadgets for 'x' minutes/hours
  • Think of a plethora of activities to ween them
  • Spend time with your kids. Do things together. Your time with them is the best investment

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: K Mohan05 May 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

This is a nice article which gives wider tips on how to keep the children away from the gadgets. Nowadays when the children are in infant stage ie before 1 year of age, they keenly watch what the mother is doing with the cell phone and they would love to catch it and feel it. Slowly that would become an interesting activity daily and he shall read how the mother would open the phone and then talk and even browse. Now as he becomes big and growing, he tries to have handed over the cell phone keys and thus in short period he masters over the cell phone and won't give back to the mother. This is the situation the adamant attitude of the child gets focused. Had the mother concealed the phone when the child was awake and playing with her, she would not have become a adamant child now. So the mother is responsible for the child bad behaviour and even at this stage, she can divert the attention of the child by showing some animals and flowers in the book so that he forgets about gadget,

Author: Juana24 May 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

I tried to show ways to detach children from gadgets. These are little older kids and by gadgets, I refer to a range of instruments that children get addicted to - not just mobile phones.

I am of the opinion that education is about guiding and channeling children in the right path. I do not believe in the 'hide and operate' suggestion mooted by Mohan. Parents need to set boundaries and teach their children to confine their activities within those set rules. I will not start the blame game here, of blaming the mother.

The right way to teach a child is to give them reasons why they shouldn't be doing something. Parents should provide more opportunities to engage children. They should spend quality time with their children.

Author: Umesh29 May 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

The author has very nicely brought out the menace of gadgets in the hands of children and ways to control this addiction.

I also advocate for 'Lead by example' because that is the thing which will impress the children most. They learn and mimic the parents in many ways. Until and unless parents are not going to set the example nothing is going to change.

Today it is really unfortunate that children have forgotten their toys, story books and childhood games for this modern idiot screen in their palms.

The article is well narrated and it will definitely make parents to think upon the matter seriously.

Author: Juana19 Jun 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

There is another aspect here and that of peer pressure. School going kids, as young as class 4, are on WhatsApp. They play games on smartphones. There was this craze of Pokemon Go that had many children in my apartment complex driving their parents nuts, wanting to be driven to different places to catch the Pokemon.

Parents are required to devote time to their kids. Quality time is what is essential. Just being in the house is not enough. Parents must learn to interact with their kids, have conversations and discussions. Parents must create an atmosphere that involves children.

Author: Venkiteswaran31 May 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 8

The title of the article will make us feel that the author is entering into an area almost impossible in the present age. Gadgets are the 'necessary evils' of our times. Okay.

Then the question is "should we introduce those necessary evils so early in our children's life?". Probably the answer for this question is the practical remedy and answer to the article title 'How to stop children from playing with gadgets. The article itself gives the possible answer in two subsequent sub-headings: Lead by example & Introduce new elements.

From our experience, we can say that our child was never given any gadgets to engage him and for the sake of not troubling us. In fact, our son as a child found it more engaging and happy in dealing with the household utensils, help aids like brooms, brushes, washed clothes etc and imitated his mother or father and 'helping' them. When we bought toys and items like badminton racquets, balls, etc, we mostly bought them in pairs or two sets. So when some guests came to our home or even when we went to a park or other commonplace he will get another child to play by sharing the extra toy with the other child.

From a very early age itself, we drew his attention towards newspapers and magazines also. So he also used to 'browse' the pages and even point out something interesting to us and ask for details on that.

In everything, if there is a will, there is a sure way. If parents will that their children should not play with gadgets, they sure can. But at the same time they should not hide the gadgets they use, but instead, make the child understand that it is not a plaything but a utility.

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