Kids In Danger Of Screen

23 February 2021

Wares Ali Khan & Faruk Hossain :
Since the closure of educational institutions last March, virtual classroom has been introduced as a possible substitute on different national platforms like - TV, Radio and also some other popular video sharing platforms associated with internet like - Zoom, Google Classroom, Google Meet, G-Suite, Facebook Live, Messenger Rooms, and so forth.
For necessary ground, concerned guardians cannot but allow their children to join online classes using smart phone, phablet, tablet, PC, TV, etc. It is true indeed we do not have better alternatives without it during this rugged circumstance. Therefore in such a dire reality, digital screen based electronic gadgets and multimedia tools are being treated as a means of adjustment with the state of new-normal in a bid to keep ongoing distance learning to be continued.
As children are letting more access to this window of both online and off-line opportunity and becoming screen addicted being provoked by internet, social media and modern screen technology, they might be engulfed with the following ultimate threats like: sleep disruption, mood swing and disorder, less time with family and friends, poor self-image, insufficient physical or outdoor activities, reading fewer books, less opportunity of play, loss of social skills, adopting unsafe behavior, obstruction to the free thinking ability, increasing threat of cyberbullying and predators, engagement with unethical contents, social deviation and so on.
However, here we should have a significant role to promote our children's cognitive domain, physical and personal development. We should scale up their latent creativity and imagination, problem solving aptitude and heighten some other major social skills.
We all can encourage our children to adapt to other activities like: nourishment of creative hobbies, gardening, reading, cycling, recitation, debating, involvement in arts and sports, etc. instead of being tangled with multimedia screens. An unstructured playtime is more important for a young child in favor of brain development than being hung on multimedia devices. Therefore they need to have play time and recreational scope unconditionally.
Managing our children's usage of the internet and multimedia screen is surely a challenging issue. But by developing rules we can afford a safe experience regarding it. An acceptable timeallocation is a possible solution to the screen issue while we do not have a better alternative to the multimedia screen. In this connection we should foster a sound and safe screen habit for our kids through a cooperative and collaborative approach.
Henceforth, the following guiding principles might be strictly maintained as a total screen-safety measure while allowing our kids for screen:
We have to decide first whether our children are ready for a personal device or not and the contents which our children are interested in must have age appropriateness. We should fix online privacy and safety, talk to our kids about what they are seeing considering their teenage-maturation. We have to be committed to upgrade healthy screen habits with proper guidance and consistency.
We must turn off screens during family meals or outings, switch off devices and remove them from bedrooms at least one hour before bedtime. We should settle daily and weekly screen time along with limiting our own screen time. Creating a tech-free zone as well as encouraging all to have digital literacy is imperative. We must learn about parental control and apply it always.
Children are bound to make frequent mistakes. Therefore, we need to make sure that they are closer during screen time so that we can mentor them, supervise activities, and help them to determine what is appropriate. No matter how smart or mature we feel our children are, we must monitor their social media behaviors and educate them not to send or share anything online which is unethical and prohibited.
(Mr. Khan is a teaching professional & Mr. Hossain is a marketing executive)

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