How ‘Smart Parents’ allow ‘Smart Phones’ to make their ‘Smart Kids’ Stupid?

How ‘Smart Parents’ allow ‘Smart Phones’ to make their ‘Smart Kids’ Stupid?

“Here Baby Don’t cry! Here, take Mamma’s phone! See Pappa’s mobile! See See! Watch this now! Watch!!! Look at this here! Look! Look!!

Bengaluru: Some time ago I observed this little Family at the Paediatric waiting lounge. The Baby was only 11 months old and crying. What was he crying for? Unwell? Bored? Tired? Sleepy? Hungry? Hot? Cold? Uncomfortable? Scared? Who knows? Is the reason important? The pressing need at the moment was to just distract him! And what can be more handier and so perfectly equipped to do the job than the inevitable mobile?

“Our children tell us, Mummy, Daddy, you people don’t understand! If we do not have TV/ Video Time every day, we will not have anything to communicate with our Peers “ So we just have to see what others are seeing! Otherwise, we will be left out!“

Now, we know, as Good educated Parents allowing our kids, daily many hours of TV/ Mobile /Internet time is not good, but, then if we restrict them, they will feel left out and isolated. They will not have friends! That can be quite terrible! We as parents are worried and confused! What to do? “

The problem is that most of us Parents have for quite some time now, happily acquired and accepted a general notion that we can never be a smart match for the Mighty Smart Mobile and all the other electronic gadgetry. We have come to believe that our poor Parental brains are so empty of ideas and that we have so few resources at hand. We are so bewildered and uncomprehending of the issues of our own offspring. So puzzled, so confused and above all so pressed for time too! We feel truly helpless and overwhelmed. And then quite often, and sad to say, there are also many of us Parents who just can’t be bothered, and so we look to a quick fix!!

And that’s when -Enters the Dragon!

Time passes and passes quickly, and throughout the years, children will keep posing various problems and challenges to their parents. They do this because they are Children and because all of this is just a completely normal part of growing up. Now the Parent’s job is to deal with every problem. Immediately and effectively. But the Parents, you see, have not updated their status, (like their WhatsApp and Facebook status). They do not know nor have they cared to learn how to upgrade their Parenting skills. They really know very little about their own children. When the child is away and busy at school, the parents are relieved. If it so happens that the child is not at school, or not visiting at a friend’s place or with relatives, and is required to be in close quarters with his parents, in the same physical space, it ends up being a very frustrating time for both.

Take, for example, the Family travelling together or attending functions, or visiting people, or the Parents and child waiting together at hospitals and Clinics, at Stations, at Airports, and in Offices. Or most of all the situation inside their very Homes!

When faced with a child’s problematic Behaviour, the Parent who has never learnt to be in sync with the child, never able to hold a proper dialogue or rational discussion with the child, never helped the child to discover what his thoughts and his moods are, never took pains to teach the child to find acceptable beneficial long-term solutions to the issue at hand, is understandably confused angry guilty and frustrated. So in the end, the Parents trying to find a quick fix Solution will say something like this!

“What’s your Problem? Something is not OK with you? Here take my Mobile! Irritable? Look at my Mobile it may calm you! Bored? You want TV time? My mobile ! Internet time? Ok then! Confused? What better thing than the Mobile?! “

So its clear, if the Family is stuck for communication? No issues! There are the SMART Phones! Smart enough for all! …

And so it goes on…Day after day..Time and Time again….Thus begins the Parental dependence on the unfailing Mobile! The Smart Mobile ….the Ever Ready, Ever present, Omnipotent, All amusing Mobile Phone! …Baby Pacifier,Child entertainer, Kid’s boredom killer,Teen comforter, Everyone’s Time passer, General Irritation soother, Cool Companion Guide and friend! Never failing to Distract! The Grand Distractor!

The message is loud and clear! “Don’t deal with the Problem.! Just Distract! Distract!“

Soon the child matures into the Teens…but suddenly now the same parents are shocked and come running to visit at the Psychologists Clinic to complain “! Look at him! He is all the Time with the Mobile! She spends so much time on the Internet! Why? What’s wrong with these children? ” “They are not properly concentrating! Now they are demanding for their own Smartphones!

Or … “My child promised to study better, if I got him a mobile, so I gave him one, but now he is hooked on to it all the time! “Help! Please! “ My kids are so distracted! “

So that’s the Story of how Smart Parents allow their Smart Phones to make their Smart kids Stupid!

Note: The above article is {Part-1, the Genesis}, of the Three-Part Articles {PART -2 Neuro-Scientific Understanding of what excessive mobile/Internet use does to maturing Brain; and PART -3 Tips and Solutions to slay the Dragon}

About Dr Elizabeth Daniel:

Dr Elizabeth Daniel, BA-Ed (Regional Inst.Mysore) MA, MPhil, PhD- (NIMHANS) Professor and Clinical Child Psychologist, is a renowned Clinical child Psychologist of 36 years. Currently, she is Child Mental Health Expert (HON) –RBSK Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of Karnataka, Training District Govt. Psychiatrists and Pediatricians as well as Medical Officers in early Identification of developmental and Behavioural Disorders. She is also a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the (JNCASR) Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research Jakkur, at Bengaluru; and a Guest Faculty- training M Philand PhD Clinical Paediatric Psychology candidates at ‘Sweekar Institute of Paediatric Rehabilitation ‘Hyderabad

Having secured Gold Medals both at the Masters as well as MPhil from NIMHANS, she obtained her Doctorate in Clinical Child Psychology from NIMHANS and has Additional Training in Neuro-Developmental Therapy and Sensory Integrated Therapy- Training (sponsored by Jeena Inc. USA at KMC Mangalore). She worked formerly as Professor of Paediatric Psychology,– Yenepoya Medical College, & at Dept of Psychiatry K M C, Mangaluru. She was invited to serve as a Professor to the School of Psychology and Education University Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia (2010) as an expert Consultant in Child and Family Unit, and was a Research Guide to the Undergraduates and Postgraduate students of Malaysia. In her work of more than 3 decades at the Medical College & Hospitals at Kerala & Karnataka, she has founded and headed Child Guidance Clinics, to treat Emotional and Behavioural problems of children and Teenagers.

Dr Elizabeth Daniel had served on the Juvenile Justice Board-, Govt of Karnataka; as the Expert – Syllabus Draft Committee and as External Examiner Department of Clinical Psychology, Kasturba Medical College Manipal University; Member, Board of Ethics MCODS Mangalore , Manipal University; Member, Board of Studies, PG Department of Pediatrics, Yenepoya Medical College, and Yenepoya Deemed University Mangalore, DK, and Karnataka; Member, Centre for Prevention of Drug and Substance Abuse, Yenepoya Medical College; and Conducts Faculty Development Programmes /in Schools Engineering and other Colleges and , Student Study Skills, Life Skills Suicide Prevention, Stress Management & Parent Effectiveness Workshops

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