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7 smart ways to help children get a digital detox


Dec 31, 2023


As 2023 draws to a close, many people might think about resolutions they want to implement next year. While many people’s resolutions may revolve around weight loss, new hobbies, or social media detox, it is a good idea to add a few resolutions that are aimed at helping children reduce the time they spend in front of digital devices. This is especially recommended for parents with young children, mainly because inculcating habits early is vital for their overall growth and development.

Why is digital screen addiction dangerous?

Dr.Asmita Mahajan, Consultant Neonatologist & Pediatrician, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim says, “Children are increasingly addicted to devices, whether it is mobiles, tablets, gaming stations, or television. Additionally, social media also takes up a lot of time amongst teenagers, which, in the long run, can negatively affect their psyche in many ways. It can lead to low self-esteem, aggressive behavior, sleep disturbances, weight gain & lack of exercise, Anxiety, Depression, and suicidal ideas, which, according to research, have been connected with screen addictions.”

What are the signs that a child is addicted to the screen?

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Some signs that a child is addicted to the screen is when a parent can tick one or multiple of the following options:
The child is never seen without a device by their side.
The child asks for a mobile phone during every meal.
The child asks for a device first thing after waking up.
The child throws a tantrum or becomes violent when denied screen time.
The child doesn’t have a sense of time when using the screen.
The child has more stressful days when kept without a phone, grows restless, and quality of work and life suffers.
While implementing solutions for children is a good idea, remember that kids don’t listen to orders. However, they are great at imitating their adults.

The first smart way to help your kids’ digital detox is:

1. Do digital detox yourself, too: Keep your smartphones away, especially when it is time for quality family time. Reduce your social media time to the bare minimum, and avoid using it in front of the kids.
2. Follow the no devices rule during specific times: Ensure that children do not use devices during particular times like meals and before sleeping. It is incredibly vital to regulate children’s sleeping hours. To do this, ensure they do not have devices by their bedside. In addition, they should get a good, calm 8-9 hours of sleep every day as that will help them build good mental and physical health.

3. Start a hobby or activity class for the child: These can include dancing, swimming, gymnastics, music, or anything the child enjoys. Engage the child in DIY (do it yourself) activities as it helps them develop good cognitive skills while keeping them occupied and productive during their free hours.
4. Have family fun or games before or after dinner per your schedule: An hour playing a board game with the entire family involved will help create cherished memories for everyone. Another fun way to engage everyone is to have a dance party with your kids, which will help them stay active and use any additional energy.
5. Read Books: Encourage children to enjoy reading books. To do this, set aside time for the whole family daily to spend one hour in exclusive reading. After the hour, children can discuss the books they read with their parents and other family members.

6. Have an arts and crafts session: Arts and crafts are a great way to encourage creativity in children and adults. Spend time in creative activities and engage in different projects to connect, like greeting cards, painting, and knitting.
7. Play outside: A great way to detox is to go out and enjoy the sun and nature. Whenever possible, go out with your children for a walk in the park or even enjoy a game of cricket, football, or badminton. Not only will these activities make children competitive, but they will also help them be physically active for a considerable amount of time.

The takeaway

The reduction in device usage may be incomplete at one hundred percent, especially in the initial stages. However, when practiced over time, it will result in adequate digital screen reduction time. Parents can also use apps to track their children’s usage of digital devices. Additionally, parental control settings should be used to regulate the digital content that the child watches. It is essential that the content that a child watches is screened so that it is more educational. While entertainment channels are okay for some time, the content must be appropriate for their age.
Finally, setting achievable goals to make your detox plan effective is essential. The family must come together to decide the duration of the detox and inspire others to reach the end goal.

Myopia in kids, ft. Sameera Reddy


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