Kids Need Focus Too

Oct 25, 2011

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You know what I'm talking about, the inexplicable feeling of being locked behind mounds of tasks piling over you. The outdoors is that thing beyond the pane of glass, moving like a magic picture—constantly reminding you where you are not. Friends and family are those things that distract you from your ever mounting task list, and the phone is that demon which can take seconds from your day.
When this thought process happens, it's time for a break, especially from technology. The LCD lights behind our monitors, tablets, and phones can hypnotize us into believing that all which matters in the world is what crosses that very screen when, actually, what matters more is what crosses your path in the family room.
You don't need me to tell you this. Work/life balance has been the subject of watery-eye dramas and after-school specials for decades. What our kids might not realize, however, is that this very lesson applies to their own tech-savvy lives.
The danger of kids spending too much time in front of a screen include, but is not limited to, believing in a world that only exists in a 22 screen. When Facebook posts seem larger than life, could it be because this is what life looks like to our youth?
If balancing work and life is difficult for adults, it only stands to reason that balancing technology and life is near impossible for youth. Hence the reason to help kids experience more than just the keyboard in the den.  Here are some tips to help your kids get off the computer.
  • Implement time controls: This may seem a little Machiavellian, but if a child knows they are limited, they are more likely to use the computer as a tool and not a pastime.
  • Recognize and encourage developing talents: An idle mind is the devil's playground, but giving kids something they love to do (other than the latest Facebook game), will make it easier for you to get them off the computer.
  • Watch yourself: Could your kids be following your example? Or could you make an effort to spend more time with your kids? Monkey see, monkey do.