Are you focusing on your family’s digital well-being?&
New Delhi: From video conferencing tools to social media platforms and streaming apps, technology has encroached deeply into our homes and lives. Despite that, few families are having serious conversations around digital well-being today.
The term ‘digital well-being’ refers to a state where a person has a safe, healthy, and balanced relationship with digital technology. Here are some examples of how over-dependence on digital technologies can affect the well-being of families:
● Viewing screens for 3 hours a day or more can hinder physical activity and cognitive development in small children.
● In both grown-ups and children, there are strong correlations between internet addiction and symptoms of depressive or anxiety disorders, social phobia, anger issues, suicidal ideation, substance addiction, etc.
● Activities like gaming or watching pornography, can be intensely addictive. In fact, ‘Internet Gaming Disorder’ is a classified mental disorder.
● Overusing devices can cause joint and muscle aches and other problems related to a sedentary lifestyle.
Since a majority of internet addicts are teenagers and younger adults, conversations about digital well-being have to start at home. Here are some tips.
Teach children to be responsible
There is no right or wrong age for children to start using smartphones or PCs. However, parents must ensure that the child is responsible and mature enough, and that a healthy balance is enforced at all times.
Champion of Wellbeing Dr. Marcus Ranney says, “As young parents, screen or device time is top-of-mind in our house; but the pandemic-led lockdown has thrown all the rules out of the window. However, we have still created a routine and a set of rules to help manage this challenge and define a new relationship with technology.”
Stress on safety
Digital safety is also a vital talking point for families. These discussions should revolve around themes like: safeguarding one’s privacy online, the risks of putting personal information online, dealing with abuse, the health consequences of binge-watching or binge-gaming, etc.
Enjoy offline activities together: Make time for some great family activities that do not involve technology—e.g. visits to the park, board games, and so on. Keep all gadgets safely out of the way during such activities.
Create technology-free times and zones
Set clear ground rules for places and/or situations when technology is NOT welcome—for e.g. at the dinner table, in bed, during study time, or when guests are visiting.
Lead by example: If you lecture your children about the importance of responsible gadget use but don’t follow the same rules yourself, they are unlikely to take you seriously. Practice what you preach.
Concludes Dr. Marcus, “Like physical or mental well-being, achieving digital well-being also requires practice and regular fine-tuning from time to time. But the results—the improved well-being of your family and the time you’ll spend together—will definitely be worth the effort!”
Written in partnership with Champion of Well-being, Dr Marcus Ranney. Times Bridge is the global investment and partnership arm of the Times Group. A unique position as a venture capital, consulting and operations partner to the world’s purposeful companies providing partners with a decisive edge to bring their mission to the world’s largest, open consumer market. Some of its portfolio brands: Business Insider, Advertisement and Media Insider, and The Weather Channel, Headspace, MUBI, Smule, Wattpad, StackOverflow and more.