As 2018 winds down, many families are preparing for the December holidays. Perhaps this Thanksgiving holiday you spent time with multi-generations of your family. If so, did you notice how many kept their eyes focused on their iPhones, iPads/Tablets, or Smartphones? Did you really engage with each other or did the day pass with limited personal interaction? With this in mind, it occurred to our John Bailey Company team that as part of our goal to help you “insure a great life,” today we would turn our spotlight on children and technology minding the 5 C’s.
Children and Technology in the NEWS
Today’s parents often see news headlines that makes them stop and think about the science of this technology and how their children are impacted by social media and screen time. Before we get started with the 5 C’s, we want to share a few intriguing articles:
- “Children are tech addicts – and schools are the pushers,” The Guardian, January 26, 2018
- “It’s not a drug, but it may as well be”: Expert opinions on whether kids are addicted to tech, Quartz, February 9, 2018
- “Silicon Valley parents are raising their kid tech-free — and it should be a red flag,” Business Insider, February 18, 2018
- “How teens use fake Instagram accounts to relieve the pressure of perfection,” The Conversation, March 6, 2018
- “Addicted to Social Media?” Psychology Today, May 7, 2018
- “Smartphones, tablets causing mental health issues in kids as young as two,” New Zealand Media & Entertainment, November 13, 2018
- “Limiting Kids’ Screen Time Is Harder Than It Looks,” Press Herald, November 19, 2018
Hopefully, our readers will have time to read the above articles on their tablets or Smartphones! In the meantime, let’s talk about the 5 C’s.
Minding the 5 C’s – tasks for children and parents
- CONCENTRATION – simply defined, concentration is the exclusive attention to one object. Think of the command often delivered by a parent or teacher: “Pay attention!” In an article published by the Child Mind Institute, they reference research from the University of Chicago which “found the mere presence of a smartphone reduces a person’s ability to focus. In the study, undergraduates asked to leave their phones in another room did better on cognitive tests than those who were asked to silence their phones and leave them face down on their desk or in a bag.” Consider how your parents may have had you turn off the television while you were doing your homework. Very few people are good at multitasking, so take some time to teach your children the importance of concentration and establishing routines, sans screens.
- COMMUNICATION – simply defined, communication is the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs. Parents begin communicating with their children from the time they join the family. At first, it may be a gentle touch, exchanging glances, then smiles and eventually speech. A bit later, many parents offer magical screens to their children. However, Dr. Aric Sigman of the British Psychological Society in 2016 opined about too much screen time: “[it] is the very thing impeding the development of the abilities that parents are so eager to foster through the tablets. The ability to focus, to concentrate, to lend attention, to sense other people’s attitudes and communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary—all those abilities are harmed.” Commit to talking and listening to your child, even if your child is now a teenager. It is never too late to work on verbal language skills, as well as non-verbal communications. Encourage your children to write their thoughts down on paper, including letters, poems, thank you cards, and holiday cards.
- COOPERATION – simply defined, cooperation is an act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit. The key words here are common purpose or benefit. Children begin to learn how to cooperate and engage at a fairly early age, almost always being part of a family, neighborhood friends, pre-school class, grade school, sport teams, playing an instrument in a symphony or band, high-school classes and extracurricular activities, their first job, college classes, living in a dorm…the list goes on. Children who do not learn the art of cooperation often struggle socially. In 2017, Erin Leyba LCSW, Ph.D. wrote for Psychology Today: “5 Simple But Powerful Ways to Get Kids to Cooperate.” Remember, screen technology and social media does not intuitively promote cooperation. Kids are people too, just like you they get tired, hungry or sick. So, relax, talk it over and cooperation will flow naturally.
- CONSIDERATION – simply defined, consideration is thoughtful or sympathetic regard or respect; thoughtfulness for others. While consideration should be a two-way street, often it is not. Children learn how to be considerate by watching their role models, being part of a family dynamic. We read with interest an article by Jelena Aska, “If A toddler Does 10 of These 20 Things, They Were Raised By A Screen.” Would it surprise you to know that 21% of children in the United Kingdom feel their parents are constantly reading emails, answering calls or texts on their mobile phones; therefore, the parents don’t listen to their children? For sure, children can express empathy and consideration via social media by liking videos or photos and extending birthday wishes, they can practice these skills.
- CONTRIBUTION – simply defined, contribution is the part played by a person in bringing about a result or helping something to advance. In this case, every family member contributes to the well-being and progress of the family. The fun part about the word contribution is that its fruition relies on the previous 4 C’s…that is, in order for the children and families to proceed, it is incumbent upon each member to practice concentration, communication, cooperation, and consideration. Your contribution in managing your child’s technology and screen time can be enhanced by: setting rules/guidelines for your family and following these rules; limiting screen time – let the children go outside to play; planning family viewing times, like movie nights or special television series, reading a book together (a real hardback or paperback); eating meals without technology; clearing the bedrooms of all media and technology, particularly the children’s bedrooms; and finally, staying informed and asking your children to share news they may have learned about technology or social media.
Some closing thoughts from your John Bailey Company team
It’s important for our team to share that we have social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blog, and LinkedIn, which are easily accessed from our website. These profiles, in conjunction with our website, provide us a number of ways to communicate with our current and future clients. We also have a Mobile App and we even offer a Make a Payment feature on our website. And don’t forget, you can visit our office at 1011 N. Broadway, Knoxville, TN 37917 or call us at 865.524.0785.
Technology and social media are avenues to bring us together. It is a journey, but we all benefit if it is an informed journey. And, an informed journey will help you “insure a great life!”