How unhealthy screen-time is impacting your children's lives

If an interest becomes so all-consuming that it robs you of many other joys and experiences which are essential to your physical, mental and emotional growth, then it is time to take stock

By Asha Iyer Kumar

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Published: Thu 9 Nov 2023, 8:52 PM

Dear Children,

Do you think it is interesting for your parents to keep carping about your habits, especially the one you have developed with your gadgets and games? They loathe to reprimand and repeat house rules as much as you feel piqued by their constant remonstrations. Why then do we create such unpleasant situations in the house, which makes you and them equally unhappy?

Much as the discussions surrounding gadgets and gaming irks you and makes you feel that there is unnecessary fuss created around it, the truth is that these habits are wrecking many things in your life imperceptibly, without your knowledge. No one argues against the need to have hobbies that keep you engaged and entertained. The debate is not about that; it is about the amount of time that you spend on your hobbies. If an interest becomes so all-consuming that it robs you of many other joys and experiences which are essential to your physical, mental and emotional growth, then it is time to take stock.

Good things you will miss

It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that our well-being is in what we think is good for us. Barely so. Beyond the interests that keep you alienated from the rest of the world, viz. gadgets and gaming, there is a world full of exciting activities. There are endless options for you to find the same satisfaction that you think only your gadget will bring. Failing to see the immense possibilities beyond the realm of your addiction or obsession will make you miss several good things in life.

For openers, staying cooped up inside the house for hours together will deprive you of the joys of outdoor adventures. From small pastimes like playing football with friends to going on picnics with friends and family, you will miss the little things that enrich your life with their variety. Especially, in winter when the weather permits you to take in nature without breaking a sweat, it is a pity if you had to spend time indoors staring at a screen. And no one needs to educate you on the adverse effects of a lack of physical activities. It is a no-brainer that needs no elucidation.

If you thought you could lead a happy life by making friends in the virtual space alone, think again. Those whom you meet online cannot put an arm around your shoulder when you are down or pop balloons on your birthday or go with you to the movie or the mall. It also robs the cosy comfort of family bonding, the delights of sibling connections and the opportunity to make beautiful memories in their company.

Gadgets and college admission

When you are stuck with a single interest to the exclusion of other activities in life, your knowledge of the world diminishes and so do your creative capabilities. It diverts you from every other enjoyable and useful engagement and makes you an introvert, often with unimpressive characteristics. How can someone who has no varied interests grow into a well-rounded personality who can convince college admission inspectors that you are an asset to their institution? You are definitely not going to make the cut if you cannot think beyond your gaming console as your place of interest. Universities are looking for students with an appetite to learn new things in the real world and not those who are content to win games in the virtual space.

The world is full of amusements and it is only when we venture out of the gaming fad that we will find new territories to explore and excel in. Do you want to be a frog that thinks the well is the world or do you want to leave the wall and see the ocean outside?

Until next time, Keep glowing. Keep growing.

wknd@khaleejtimes.com


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