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“Smartphone” or “Dumb Distraction”

Your Kids and Smartphones… You Better Have a Plan.

In at least one urgently important way, childhood is radically different for today’s kids than it was for their parents.  Kids can now, quite literally, be connected with the entire world, the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Parents, educators, and the medical community have good reason to be concerned.  Cyberbullying, screen addiction, inappropriate content, and myriad other challenges are real issues for young people navigating a complex, online world.  And when kids run into challenges, the results can range from “bummer” to “life-altering”.

While being “over-connected” to the outside world can be scary, the flip-side of this “connectivity challenge” is just as important.  Children are becoming less connected with family and friends.  And, this makes sense…  when all that is required to steer clear of a challenging conversation is a quick tweet and the requisite emoji, it’s little wonder that today’s kids find it increasingly difficult to communicate face-to-face.  And though this side of situation may not seem as directly negative in its impact, the outcomes are no less serious in a child’s long-term ability to thrive and be happy.

In fact, the physical and mental-health impacts that are now attributed, both directly and indirectly, to smartphones have been well documented (see The Atlantic’s, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation).  Smartphones, sleep patterns, lack of exercise, relationships, anxiety and depression are all now interconnected.  And as painful as it may be to admit, smartphones are going to remain a part of modern life for all of us.

What can parents do to prepare and protect their kids?

Now that we are all on the same page regarding the importance of the challenge, what is a conscientious parent to do?  Don’t lose hope just yet!  Truth be told, there are quite a few actions parents can take, to both protect their children from the most destructive impacts of using smartphones, and to teach kids habits and life-lessons that will serve them well into the future.  FamPlan adheres to a straightforward methodology described as “Model -> Delay -> Manage -> Connect“.  In a nutshell, one might refer to this as “Strategies for Parenting Digital Kids”.

As with most things that are worthwhile, the concepts are simple, while the details are a bit trickier.  So, we’ll dig in deeper in our next post, Kids and Smartphones… Be a Good Role Model.

Until next time…  #DoMoreHappy

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