Technology is this generation’s blessing and curse. While it makes life easier, its hazards can lead to long-term problems. According to UK communications regulator Ofcom, reports that 40% of pre-schoolers have access to a tablet at home. More than 30% of kids aged five to 15 have their own tablet or smartphones. Long screen time is blamed for sedentary lifestyle, which contributes to the rising obesity rate. Dr. Sammy Margo, a physiotherapist, says, “Children are weaker, more hunched over and have poorer muscle tone than ever before.”
The lack of physical activities is only one of the many problems facing healthcare as far as children as concerned. Here are 10 pressing issues modern kids are facing today and how to address them.
“We’re gaining too much weight.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that obesity rate has more than doubled in children in the past 30 years. Nearly 20% of kids aged six to 11 years in the US are obese, the health agency reported. Overweight and obesity are linked to a number of serious diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart problems and cancer. Some reasons behind the rising obesity rate are poor dietary patterns, inactivity and heavy exposure junk food. promotion. Take time to prepare your children’s meals and limit their TV time to shield them from unhealthy food advertising.
“We get body shamed everywhere.”
We can blame the media all we want, but society as a whole has a part in this growing body shaming culture. A study by the University College London reveals that “weight discrimination” doesn’t help people lose weight. In fact, those who are subjected to body shaming comfort themselves by eating more. Obesity is a public health problem. However, calling your child a “fatty” will cause more harm than good. Stop body shaming and start in your own home.
“We’re not getting enough sleep.”
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that children should be getting adequate sleep each night. Newborns aged up to three months old should rest for 14 to 17 hours each day while infants should be sleeping for 12 to 15 hours daily. Your toddlers and preschoolers must be sleeping between 10 and 14 hours each night. School-age children, aged six to 13 years, should be getting 9 to 11 hours of sufficient rest every day. Your teenage kids must sleep for eight to 10 hours each night. However, meeting these advisable sleep ranges is a struggle.
Doctors and sleep specialists blame the unrestricted use of handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones for the children’s poor sleep quality. The blue light in electronic gadgets are fooling the brain that it’s daytime, disrupting the body’s sleep cycle. One of the effective tips to help your kids sleep earlier and longer is to set guidelines for gadget use. It will also help to make their sleeping place comfortable. Explore the best mattress technology in the market and incorporate it in their rooms.
“We’re regularly staying up late.”
Insufficient sleep is not the only the challenge. Putting kids to bed is an equally difficult task. According to Uratex, it is imperative for parents to ensure their children sleep earlier to prepare them for the following day. There are ingenious ways to make your little ones get to bed earlier such as the classic routine of telling them bedtime stories. You can improvise and make your storytelling session interactive.
Staying up late is a prevalent youth issue today. Computer games, apps and social media are keeping adolescents up throughout the night. While it’s tough to argue with older kids, there’s a way to make sure they’re not jeopardizing their health in exchange for long hours on Facebook: appeal to reason. Explain the importance of sleeping to their performance in school and extracurricular activities.
“We don’t want to get off the couch.”
There is a huge amount of research that says that the unrestricted use of electronic gadgets is linked to a sedentary lifestyle. This is the case for both children and adults. The CDC reports that children and teens should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This doesn’t mean that you’d need to confiscate all electronic gadgets in your home. The key is moderation. Enroll your kids in after-school sports classes or bring them to public parks or pools on weekends. Regular exercise can also help in getting a good sleep on their comfy bed mattress.
“We get bullied in school a lot.”
A study by researchers from King’s College London warns that people who experienced bullying as children suffer from its impact even at age 50. Dr. Louise Arseneault, senior study author, says that bullying is not just an inevitable part of growing up. “Programmes to stop bullying are extremely important, but we also need to focus our efforts on early intervention to prevent potential problems persisting into adolescence and adulthood,” she explains. It’s essential to let your child know that he can talk to you about his problems, whether it involves school or his friends.
“We get bullied online.”
Technology is turning the world into a pool of bullies. Today, it’s easy to wreck a stranger’s morale by a Facebook post or a meme. Cyberbullying, one of the biggest problems kids are facing, is boosted by social media. A team of Canadian researchers found a “consistent relationship between cyberbullying and depression among children and adolescents.” We have seen this in recent news about teens committing suicide after suffering from online attacks. Again, it’s important to put a ceiling on your kids’ gadget use. Teach them how to protect themselves especially when it comes to their privacy in the Internet.
“We are distracted.”
Tricia Kelleher, principal at the Stephen Perse Foundation, says that children are having a hard time reading in silence or listening to stories because of heavy exposure to technology and other sources of white noise. “There are endless distractions in their lives and it is getting harder to make them feel that reading is a pleasurable thing to do,” Ms. Kelleher shares. Set a time on a specific day in a week when everyone in your household, including you, turns off all electronic gadgets and appliance. Take this “disconnected time” as an opportunity to read books, do art or have a worthwhile conversation.
“We are exposed to criminal elements.”
With a click of a button, your young child can be preyed upon by criminals in the Internet. Protect your kids from pornography and violence by setting safeguards in your Internet server. It’s never too early to teach them how to properly use social media and protect themselves from criminals online.
“We don’t know what to believe in anymore.”
The fast flow of information is one of the gifts of modern life. Materials on various fields of study are freely available in the Internet. However, a massive amount of data searchable via Google is false, or even rubbish. One may say that religion is needed for social order while another blames it for global disorder. Western capitalists say that body image is everything; spiritual gurus teach that materialism only leads to anguish. This barrage of data can confuse your child. Shield them from information overload by disconnecting them from the digital world as often as possible. Have discussions with them over dinner. Let them express their thoughts as this is the only way to start leading them to the right way of thinking.
Technology has changed the world. It is creating a future where every person is a part of a massive interconnected web. As a parent, you must know how to protect your child from the hazards of modern living. But take caution on imposing restrictions. As cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”