Good Night, Phone!
Take a minute and simply concentrate on looking at this artwork by ‘Drawbertson,’ (@drawbertson) or Donald Robertson, one of MooMooz’s favorite artists. Yes, you may find this image very familiar, because it is a parody of the book cover of the all-time classic bedtime story <Goodnight Moon> by Margaret Wise Brown. As soon as Robertson posted this artwork on his Instagram account, moms got busy liking and commenting. One of the biggest mom-struggles is the dilemma with technological devices, especially smartphones and tablets. Although many studies and articles warn us about the harmful physical and psychological influence of technological devices, we have to admit that it is inevitable to eventually hand over such devices to our kids for safety reasons and educational purposes. Now that we are living in the digital age, it is our task to figure out the ideal way of gradually exposing smartphones and tablets to young children.
The Wait Until 8th Pledge (www.waituntil8th.org) not only provides a pledge for parents to sign, but also gives a guidance to understand why it is important to keep our children away from smartphones and tablets before 8th grade. Brooke Shannon, the Executive Director and founder of Wait Until 8th, explains that smartphones can easily give access to sexual and violent media, and can also lead to unhealthy sleeping habits, depression, anxiety, and cyberbullying. According to a New York Times article, many Silicon Valley CEOs including Tim Cook, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs kept their children and nephews away from social media, smartphones and tablets. It sure is ironic, but there is a lesson moms can learn from this: high-tech devices aren’t so great for our children.
In Korea, the Internet Addiction Prevention Center is accessible online to provide counseling and prevention services for smartphone addiction. There also are guidelines that promote adequate smartphone usages for different age groups, from toddlers to adults. Interestingly, these guidelines show that parents’ habits with technological devices are significantly influential on children. To help form ideal digital usage habits in our children, parents must spend less time staring into the screens of smartphones and tablets! Another notable tip is that rather than showing YouTube videos to keep children silent in restaurants, it is much healthier to give out color pencils and origami papers.
A study by Professor Cho of Eulji University provides statistics that children of parents with lower educational levels are more likely to be addicted to smartphones. Professor Cho emphasizes that it is key to educate and help parents to recognize the detrimental influence of excess smartphone and tablet usage. Hmm, perhaps it’s time for self-reflection. Let’s not forget that children are us parents’ mirrors!