Dr. Shahid Amin

We Need Happy and Healthy Children!

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(Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and other such technology elites consistently maintain that Silicon Valley parents were strict about technology use. A recent research has found children who spend more than two hours a day looking at a screen have worse memory, language skills and very shrill attention span).

It is quite obvious that having a happy and thriving child can greatly enhance a parent’s personal happiness satisfaction. But having a low, pessimistic or depressed child will certainly be a cause of serious worry for any parents. Children are innocent and it is correctly said that God lives where children live. The smiling faces of our children can be a therapy for any kind of depressions.

Revisiting the past, our childhood was very rich. Life in the past was more social, more connected and more experiential than what we have for today’s kids. Children used to be so busy in different engagements that they hardly found any time to be low or concerned or depressed. Earlier generations used to spend good time outdoors; playing sports or engaged in physical activities.

But the technology, nowadays, invites our children and adolescents to sit a lot. Now children are turning more isolated and limited to the world of games and gadgets that are affecting them in numerous ways. The excessive usage of the technology has truly damaged a lot and poses  a serious threat to our future generation that has been cut off from the physical exertions and social engagements.

The mobile gadgets have become a necessity for us but the excessive use of the same is damaging the very fabric of our society and drawing away youngsters from the realism of life. Take for instance mobile games- our youth have resorted to engaging in mobile games so desperately that they spent hours together glued to the screens.  The Jammu and Kashmir Students Association (JKSA) has rightly demanded to immediately ban certain such games.

Several interviews with techno-tycoons including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and others consistently reveal that Silicon Valley parents are strict about technology use for their kids. A recent research has found that children who spend more than two hours a day looking at a screen have worse memory, language skills and attention span. The research, which involved children aged between eight and 11 found that those with higher amounts of recreational screen time on smart phones and playing video games had far worse cognitive skills across a range of functions. One more research has found that an eighth-grader's risk for depression jumps 27% when he or she frequently uses social media. Children who use their smart phones for at least three hours a day are much more likely to be suicidal.

Using the internet and technology is the need of the time but researchers suggest its safe and proper usage. One study reveals that in 2007, Bill Gates, the former world’s richest and CEO of Microsoft Corporation implemented a cap on screen time when his daughter started developing an unhealthy attachment to a video game. He also didn't let his kids get cell phones until they turned 14. But the alarming situation today is that the average age for a child getting their first phone is about 10 years. If any kid is alone with the internet, and no one else is around, the technology can be a curse. When our kids use gadgets and access the internet within limits and in safe and public surroundings, the technology can enhance learning and prove a beneficial friend.  But a good research is still needed to examine the potential impact of technology on our lovely children. Psychologists need to speed up efforts to show how dangerous modern gadgets and technology can be for our children brains and what limits are there for its right usage.

Today medical sciences have found greater advancements. But it is surprising to mention that the numbers of our children are also found increasing when it comes to anxiety, pressure and conflict among our children. This pressure and conflict is not evolving on its own. As society and parents, we have now become more rigid with our demands. But the life of our children has become more caged and suffocated with those unreal demands. In actual terms we are never doing justice with the upbringing of our lovely kids. There is always a bigger force applied on our kids now. We are forcing our children to get high marks or grades in examinations. We are forcing them to be only the doctors and engineers. We are even forcing a small kid to carry a burden of bags that is even unbearable for an adult. We are forcing them to be locked in a school even when they attain just two years of their age. This pressure on our children to achieve high levels of academic success and being caged is overriding their joys of education and making our kids anxious and depressed.

A study of University of Michigan, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, revealed that children whose parents said they would respond by lecturing, punishing or restricting their child’s social activities actually had lower levels of literacy and achievement by the end of high school. The study offers a useful advice that parents who use punitive parenting practices may unintentionally deny their children the opportunity to learn the very skills and knowledge they require to improve their grades. Even more worse, punitive strategies may increase children’s sense of frustration and aversion to school work.

Societies need to realize the value of development of children in right ways. Why we are that much rigid when we have big flaws in our system. It’s rightly said that we have the brilliant minds joining doctors and engineers at the initial level. Next level with exceptions we have those who do not qualify medical and engineering, they found success in other professions like education, law, management, security, administration etc. Next level with exceptions those who do not fit in these two levels become the politicians and they rule the first two levels. The current scenario proves it right when our youth sensation Dr. Shah Faisal resigned from his prestigious IAS post to and serve big as a politician. Also a good lesson is that we have majority of politicians who are hardly fit for any good post.

It is better to inculcate right values in our children. Parenting is a great and noble task, but it isn’t that easy to bring up happy and a confident child. We must strongly encourage creativity in our children rather than being rigid with them. Our strong focus must be to make our child healthy, happy and productive. We need to be as realistic as possible but don’t thwart the ambitions of our lovely children.

The writer is Assistant Professor, ITM University Gwalior, educator at ‘Unacademy’ and also Editor in Chief at ‘startupdailytips.com’. he can be mailed at dr.shahidamin15@gmail.com

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