According to a newly published report by the Global Wellness Institute, Wellness in the Age of the Smartphone, “Whether we like it or not, whether we feel confident that we can deal with the change or not, this technological revolution will disrupt everything in a trend that is inescapable. Its scale, speed, breadth and complexity will be unlike anything we’ve experienced before.”
While parents struggle to imagine how mobile devices will change their children’s social, emotional, physical, and future work lives for better or worse, children growing up in today’s Digital Age cannot imagine a world without those devices.
How to reconcile this growing divide has become an increasingly important topic for researchers. Yet studies cannot keep up with the pace of accelerating changes in technology, according to the report. In many ways, researchers are swimming upstream, attempting to adapt without enough information on the prevailing currents.
Most researchers agree there are benefits and pitfalls of smartphone usage, but there is not global agreement on just how technology will change the lives of future generations. In this new 29-page report and review of the research, good information can be gleaned for parents. While there is much uncertainty on how technology and smartphones will impact human development, the latest data suggests intelligent ways to keep your children and teens healthy in the Digital Age:
1. Manage screen time.
When parents manage screen time for kids, they help children discover other healthy ways to find meaning in life. Kids create a balance between interacting with technology and developing real-life relationships with humans.
2. Promote physical activity.
A growing body of research shows that excessive screen time contributes to the inactivity and obesity crisis in today’s youth. Learn how nature fosters happiness, and encourage your children to be physically active.
3. Monitor mental wellness.
Researchers have associated the growth of social media and technology use with rising rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Parents who are well-informed about childhood trauma and the symptoms of mental illness can act more quickly to help children in need.
– Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D.
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