According to some significant voices, the advent of the smart phone and its use among teens has dramatic correlation with the rise of loneliness, depression, despair, fear, attention disorders, sleep deprivation, etc... and the loss of significant friendships off screen.
- 1 in 5 children has mental health problems
- 43% increase in ADHD
- 37% increase in teen depression
- 200% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old“
Strangely, in an age of helicopter parents, the answers appear to be more technology. Cameras to watch them at home and even in school. . . tracking apps to follow where they go and what they do. . . and the like. . . But our children do not need more watching, they need more interaction with adults without screens and more interaction with peers without screens. What they need and what is our responsibility to give them are:
- Available parents who give their attention to their children
- Clearly defined limits with both guidance and consequences
- Real responsibilities at home -- dare I say it? Chores!
- Attention to both their nutrition and their sleep habits
- Physical activity and time spent out of the house or school (recess and play)
- Creative play that requires them to be inventive
- Social interaction with their peers,
- Opportunities for unstructured times without catering to their claims of boredom.