We are living in an environment of unprecedented technological and cultural change compounded by soaring multimedia use and rapid transfer of information.
Living in the digital age, we don’t yet know the long term impacts of high screen usage. But we do know the short term impacts. Many of these affect families globally with the compulsion for young people to indulge in internet gaming and social media. Problematic internet use can lead to internet addiction and some, like Prof John Saunders, regard it as a ‘silent addiction’. The World Health Organisation in June 2018 has included digital and video gaming addiction as a mental health disorder in the draft for its 11th edition of the Classification of Control and Diseases.
What do the tech gurus know that we don’t?
Bill Gates did not let his children own a smartphone until they were 14 years of age. The same man who, prior to 1980, pledged, “A computer on every desk in every home”.
In January 2010 Steve Jobs extolled to the world the virtues of the soon to be released iPad. At the end of that same year, Steve Jobs revealed to a New York Times journalist, Nick Bolton, that his children had never used an iPad. Bolton stated that there were no devices in sight at the Job’s family dinner table.
Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired magazine and co founder of 3D Robotics does not let his children use devices in the bedroom. He has firm limitations of technology in the family home. Anderson says, “This is rule No1: There are no screens in the bedroom. Period. Ever.”
What is one thing you can do right now?
Tip #1. Set your tone for the day. Ease into the morning by letting yourself wake up fully, shower, have breakfast before you attend to emails, and any distractions on your phone. If you do not reach for your phone the minute you wake up, before your feet have touched the floor, then this may support your mind to focus on your own thoughts, give a different style of attention to your family and perhaps let you digest your breakfast so that you really are primed for the day ahead. Your children are watching how you relate to technology, too. A healthy digital diet is as important as a healthy breakfast, especially for your family.
And a further morning stretch? See if you can extend the time before you reach for your devices by 5 minutes each day.
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