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Is being online constantly a danger to my child?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Our children are called the “Net Generation,” and rightly so. After all, this is the first group born into the era of iPods, iPads, cell phones, text messaging, Skype, podcasts, and blogs. And they are clearly plugging in. The average American eight- to 18-year-old is now plugged into some kind of digital media seven and a half hours a day. Reports show that youth online time is steadily increasing by 38 percent in just five years. Let’s face it, technology is transforming our kids’ lives. Digital media is no longer a luxury but a mainstream in our children’s lives. But the key question is what effect will all that plugged-in time have on our children’s development? The truth is our children’s engagement in the digital world is so new that researchers are still unclear as to how it will play out in their development. And there lies the reason we need to tune in closer. New reports reveal a developmental danger that we may be overlooking when it comes to parenting today’s plugged-in kids. Research also confirms that the more time kids plug in, the greater likelihood they will have a lower attachment or relationship with their parents. It’s a simple equation: Less face to face time adds up to our kids having less time to tune into our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, values, and actions. The fact is kids don’t learn crucial life and character skills such as empathy, communication, emotional intelligence, respect, sharing, friendship-making, leadership, social skills, conflict resolution, listening, compassion, tolerance -- the list goes on but I think you get my drift -- by facing those screens or having earphones jammed in. While a digital world may enhance our children’s cognitive growth, it does little to affect their moral, social and emotional development. And do beware: a parent-child relationship cannot be strengthened when a child or parent is plugged in or attached to a digital device.
The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

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The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.