The words of Dr. Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist & author, seems quite applicable in the way our youngest generation is sprouting up. Raised in the lap of technology, Gen Z is all wired up in technology 24/7. The American Academy of Paediatrics reports that on an average, kids spend up to 7 hours a day on some or other random electronic device. The question is what do they filter and what goes into their brains?
Young brains are like wet cement, making impressions fast and setting them soon. As a parent, it is crucial that you are aware of the imprints your children make and also help them set it right.
WHEN ENTERTAINMENT ENSLAVES
Today’s children feed on too much television, internet and virtual games. In most cases, parents feel helpless since both the parents could be working and may not have time to direct or dictate their children’s recreation. Many parents even gulp the fact down with a pinch of guilt. According to a survey conducted by the website Childcare.co.uk, four fifths of parents admitted that they do not follow age restrictions on video games, and a quarter said they do not follow age restrictions on films (www.telegraph.co.uk). Another study on brain development in children came up with the report that addictive video games change children’s brain very much like alcohol and drugs causing a major change in mental, emotional and behavioural patterns. Children whose spare time activities are not organized and are left to spend on cartoons and video games tend to exhibit physical aggression and violent behaviours.
CATCHING THEM YOUNG
A child’s brain forms at an early age and excitedly soaks up all the information received. Whatever they watch, listen, think and do, goes a long way in shaping their minds and developing their behaviours. It is critical that you train their little brains with the right feed at the right age.
The same brain that gets addictive to video games can be moulded to get engrossed in problem-solving. Patterns of aggressive entertainment can be toned down to responsible productivity. As a parent, you can help your kids create healthy brain patterns and channelize their energies positively.
Organizing your child’s spare time with the right “fillers” is the responsibility of a parent. Investing in games like chess or puzzles, or robotics will help to create a new mindset and thought process in children. Unlike television and virtual videos, mind games are productive rather than destructive and creative rather than addictive. Brain games like Coding or Rubik’s Cube employ better focus and increased span of attention without creating obsessions. The curiosity and enthusiasm of mind games seldom become over-obsessive or habit-forming unlike their electronic and virtual counterparts.
Charting out your child’s leisure time with purposeful fillers helps to build their character, competence, emotional maturity and cognitive skills. Children are like tiny streams of creativity. Dig their paths well and they will flow in the right direction.