Digital Wellbeing vs. Screen Addiction

Digital Wellbeing vs. Screen Addiction

Hello Parents & Caregivers!

I am sure many of you who have teens, pre-teens (or even younger kids) are grappling with the issue of screen addiction! It has reached almost epidemic proportions across the world and is sparing no age group. However, do also keep in mind that you are superheroes, role models to your kids and it is equally important for you to reflect on your own digital usage along with that of your kids. Modelling of desired behaviour can actually be the most effective way of bringing about a change in the behaviour and habits of your children. So, with that in mind let’s delve deeper into how we can combat digital addiction and bring about digital wellbeing.

What is digital addiction?

Addiction to technology, also called internet addiction or digital addiction is the uncontrollable use of computers/tablets/smartphones to perform many actions, be it for work, household organization and management or leisure activities – checking emails, shopping, watching movies, connecting with family and friends, passing time watching what automatic calculated algorithms have selected for you based on what they think you will like…

Digital addiction is defined by a difficulty in managing use of technology devices with more time spent online than planned and losing control of the action as first intended. Another sign is that is interfering with daily activities/responsibilities with reduction of social real interactions with family members, friends or colleagues.

Though modern way of life since the millennium is incompatible with no internet technology, a balance should be found between the necessity and the leisure aspect. We should encourage other non-digital ways to experience pleasure. Games can be on boards along with digital games, sports performed in outdoors, not only with the help of mouse pads/joysticks or other handy devices.

Are you addict?

There are few signs that might indicate a digital addiction:

  1. increasing time spent online to achieve the same amount of satisfaction
  2. making efforts to reduce internet use
  3. being irritable if internet use or access is limited
  4. staying online longer than planned
  5. preferring to stay online than to have real social interactions with family or friends
  6. neglecting self-care and professional or personal activities and relationships
  7. hiding about the time spent online
  8. using the internet to cheer mood

How addicted are you to your screen? Take a test… there are many… out there!

Digital wellbeing

The concept of “digital wellbeing” is growing with greater importance being given to real life actions than digital emotions. A balance is needed between reasonable use of technology and real-life grounding. This balance will promote wellbeing, not just digitally but in a much more holistic manner. To achieve this however, you will need to take active steps.

Interested in a digital detox retreat? Get in touch with us!

Conversations with children during confinement

While not wanting to sound very dire, the underlying message is very pertinent for us during the present times when we are bombarded with messages and memes, theories and advice, news – real or otherwise – from all directions. And this assumes much greater importance in our role as parents. Never before (after the toddler stage perhaps) have so many of us had to spend so much time with our children…and our children with us!

Children are like sponges and in this situation what we as parents say or do, advertently or inadvertently, can have a deep a lasting impact in shaping their thoughts and behavior, or in how they process the world around them. So, parents/adults need to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Be mindful of what you discuss in front of children – You may be having a discussion with your spouse or just sharing some jokes or forwards. The two of you in this conversation may know that this is not to be taken seriously. However, your child may construe an entirely different meaning out of it. So, we need to be mindful of the conversations we are having in the vicinity of the child and not just to the children themselves. On a lighter note, while children may sometimes seem impervious to what’s being said to them, they have this uncanny ability to pick up titbits not actually meant for them.
  2. Model positive behavior – Children also pick up a lot from what they observe grownups doing or how they react to a situation. So, let us take this as an opportunity to model to children how to deal with such a situation sensibly but positively. This could also be the opportunity for us to underscore how fortunate we are in comparison to so many others, and this could be a pathway that leads them to greater empathy and compassion.
  3. Create spaces for open sharing – Having done or not done any of the above, it is still true that we will have many worries or apprehensions. So will our children. It would be good to create some dedicated time and space for open sharing within the family where both parents and children can share what’s on their minds. This will give parents an idea of what’s playing through the children’s minds (may surprise us sometimes!) as also demonstrate to the children that it’s ok to feel vulnerable and to express it (“hey not just me…even Mum Dad can feel like scared sometimes”!)

So good luck to us parents…who knows we may actually emerge from this having forged much stronger bonds with our kids and they with us!