With online multiplayer gaming, easy access to smart devices and a good internet connection, children are often confined to the the house with little physical activity.
This in turn, as research has revealed is affecting their social, mental and physical wellbeing.
Apart from adults, kids and teenagers with access to a smart device are doing all it takes to satiate their gaming fixes with the latest addition to this online gaming community- PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG)
In a tragic incident, a 16-year-old boy committed suicide on being scolded by his parents on spending too much time on the game and not preparing for his examinations.
Parents and authorities alike are leaving no stone unturned to keep kids and even adults away from addictive games.
Pune spoke to eminent parenting experts and city parents who shared their insights to help reduce their child’s dependency on such applications at an early age.
Renowned Parenting Expert Meenal Arora and Founder Director – Shemford Group of Futuristic Schools shares, “Show you care to the kid and begin your discussion by reminding them that you love them and that you care about their happiness and well-being.
You need to reassure your child that you are not condemning them. Rather, tell your child that you are concerned about some of the changes you have seen in their behaviour and refer to those changes in specific terms: fatigue, declining grades, giving up hobbies, social withdrawal, etc.
“Tell your child that you would like to see an account of just how much time they spend online each day and which internet activities they engage in.
Checking history folders and internet logs, learning about parental monitoring software, and installing filters all require a degree of computer savviness. It is important for every parent to be comfortable with the computer, at least enough to know what your child is doing online.
Take an active interest in the internet and learn about where your child goes online.
“Work with your child to establish clear boundaries for limited internet usage. Allow perhaps an hour per night after homework, with a few extra weekend hours.
Stick to your rules and remember that you’re not trying to control your child or change who they are—you are working to help them free themselves from a psychological dependence.
Finally, make the computer visible. Create a rule that non-homework-related computer usage should only happen in more public areas of the home, where your child is more likely to interact with you or other members of the household.
Education Expert Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO & Co-Founder, Next Education India Pvt Ltd shares how gamification of the learning process is another way of capturing the children’s attention towards learning activities and distracting them from such addictive online games.
“Game elements such as interesting narratives, characters, challenges, score points, competition, collaboration and immediate feedback can be coordinated into the regular teaching-learning process.
This will help bring positive changes in a child’s behaviour and attitude towards learning. In a gamified curriculum, learning concepts and solving exercises or assessments are equal to overcoming challenges.
This structure, supported with interesting stories and characters, makes the content come alive for the learner, increasing engagement and motivating them to learn,” he adds.
Smita Agrawal Omar, Mother and Blogger at Momspresso says, “I allow my 9-year-old daughter a screen time of only two hours a week and that too she earns it by doing a certain number of tasks – be it finishing her homework or helping in household chores.
I make sure that she does not watch any content or play games that require a password or profile to access so that she doesn’t have to make online friends.
Every game is checked for its content, age appropriateness and parental control in my home. Lastly, she has to have free play with her friends or indulge in other physical activities daily for at least one-two hours daily to keep her away from screen time as much as possible.
During holidays, I try to keep her occupied through educational and creative games/activities, summer camps and letting her spend maximum time playing with her friends indoors or outdoors as they want,” Smita adds.
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