How can you ensure the emotional well-being of your digital kid
Emotional well-being for digital kids of today’ generation is a concern for many parents. So it is useful to consider the quality of the ‘technology time’ spent with children and there is no reason for this not to be time well spent. For instance, a parent and child reading together is much better than a child staying in their room with an iPad or tablet.
Technology itself is not bad it can help children explore and connect to make the world a smaller place. There are many good ways children can use technology, for example, to educate themselves and to talk to their friends.
Supporting children’s emotional development is very important. Otherwise, they may go on to develop behavioral difficulties and be more likely to develop significant mental health problems in the future. Their emotional well-being includes being happy and confident and not anxious or depressed. The socially well-adjusted child has good relationships with others and does not have behavioral problems, they are not disruptive, violent or demonstrate bullying behavior.
Signs of poor emotional health.
Its normal for a child to demonstrate how their feelings through their behavior. But signs that they are struggling with their emotional health can include:-
- excessively repetition of unwanted behaviors in order to demonstrate how they feel.
- an ongoing excessively short attention span.
- aggressive or withdrawn behavior towards adults and other children.
- a struggle to integrate within their peer group.
- frequent and prolonged periods of anger or frustration.
How about older children?
In older children, extended use of the Internet in a virtual world of multi-identity chat rooms or multi-party games have been linked to increased loneliness and depression and the possible blurring of a child’s ability to distinguish the real world from the virtual one. In some chat rooms, there is no way to know if you are interacting with a real person or fabricated character.
Children are now participating in these online environments at increasingly younger ages. It is not yet know how these experiences will impact on children’s psychological development.
Teenagers, on the other hand, feel that digital media can result in positive benefits, such as building a sense of belonging, keeping in touch with groups of friends that share similar values and provide comfort and support to their peers. Teenagers rate the social benefits of the Internet over everything else that it offers. Online networks can player important part in honing their social and communications skills. They perceive that digital technology is beneficial to their relationships.
Ways to promote balance.
- It is easier now to get involved in social causes, for example, saving endangered species or raising money from the homeless.
- Games can offer ways for children to collaborate, take turns and learn basic principles of teamwork. They can increase logical thinking, develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
- There is also technology available is that’s designed to enhance social and emotional learning, which we know is critical to the development and future success of children. We know that it will it this improves their academic performance, relationships with family and friends emotional intelligence and empathy and supports them to make wise choices in their lives.
- Technologies used for parents and grandparents to interact and communicate with their children. It can be challenging for the older generation with a steep learning curve but in order to enter into the world where our children spend more time, we have to learn to navigate that world with them so that we can better guide them on how to manage it themselves and their time within it.
- It is also important to establish tech-free zones in order to manage technology well for children. This means recognizing times when the present moment is the priority and technologies given a secondary role. Children need to learn that there are times when paying attention is the primary importance no matter what type of urgent messages might be coming their way.
- Don’t use technology as an emotional pacifier. Although it can be very effective in keeping kids, and quiet, it should not be the only way they learn to calm down. Children do need to learn how to handle strong emotions and come down through breathing. Or talk about other ways to solve the problem and find different strategies for channeling emotions. They also need to invent activities to manage their own boredom.
- Adults can support children by naming emotions and helping the child to realize that what they are feeling is valid and recognizable and understood and then that there are what ways to manage these feelings. For example, you could say I can see you’re getting very frustrated shall we look at that together? By repeating this pattern the children can learn to do it for themselves.
Promoting Emotional Resilience.
As they grow they become able to independently problem solve, manage their emotions, be resilient and attentive. Young children’s emotional well-being is linked to their ability to interact positively with others, manage their frustrations or emotions without excess distress. Parents that encourage these positive behaviors are doing their best to promote emotional resilience of their child.
Although digital media is an integral part of our world today and the benefits can be great research has shown that face-to-face time with family and friends is even more important in promoting children’s learning and healthy development. Parents need to keep up good levels of face-to-face contact and not let it get lost in a stream of media and technology.
Thanks for reading my articles about ‘Growing Up Digital’.
I hope they help with your parenting journey.
Kim is a children’s author, nature writer, photographer and artist. Kim is a patch reporter for the BBC wildlife magazine. Find her nature blog at CountrysideKim.com
Kim Mackenzy Andrews Children’s Author
Get your FREE digital kids tips here
Don’t forget your FREE play with nature activity ideas here.
Share this article.