Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Parents must be wary of children’s digital dependence

While the internet has empowered students in the academic arena and made it easier for them to do their research and enrich their skills, it has also turned out to be a prolific source of many troubles, especially online addiction. The challenge is to ascertain what constitutes leisurely use of time and addiction.

It is no secret that the number of people, especially teenagers, who are becoming addicted to the internet, is increasing with extraordinary┬árapidity. This has created┬áa┬áripple effect┬áthroughout┬ácommunities,┬áin the process disconnecting people from┬ásocial engagement and meaningful┬árelationships. In Japan, for example, more than 500, 000 teenagers are believed to be addicted to the internet. Entrepreneurs have been quick to cash in on the teenagers’ weakness for digital dependence. Technology-free resorts and restorative ranch breaks with no digital devices are some of the digital detox programmes being offered to counter the dangers posed by online addiction.

In Botswana, while the issue of digital dependence is not extremely serious and does not make headlines as much as the West, parents must also be very careful and watchful of their children. Botswana youth, like others globally, are becoming hungry for internet connectivity. They need to be taught and warned about the dangers of digital dependence and prolonged use of gadgets. A variety of internet activities that can lead to addiction include gaming, pornography, media and social sites. Prolonged use of the internet impacts a child’s quality of work at school, study as well as social life.

Despite the growing numbers of teens who are experiencing online addiction, some of them do not necessarily need digital detox, but simply need to be taught how to manage their online world. This is where parenting skills are needed the most. It is not normal when teens are always on their gadgets when they are at school, when having dinner, or, even in bed. Technology is a means to an end; therefore, it is neither good nor bad. We cannot solely blame technology as the cause for online addiction, because technology is a necessity that just has to be well managed. While at home, parents must limit children’s use of gadgets in order to foster face to face relationships. Due to the dynamic environment we live in, our collective cultural clinch of the internet represents an enormous shift in our behavior as humans. Despite the rapidly evolving digital age, the internet remains a very important part of everyday life despite the problems that come along with it.

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