Lightworking in the Screen Age:
How do we help the next generation while staying connected?
~ by Melody Bishop
Every year I do a prediction series for the coming year called “Possibilities,” where I channel the runes with a message for mankind for the year to come. This year was no different and the message was powerful. A unique message came up: “Stop raising our children with screens!” By that, it meant our addiction to ipads, iPhones, gadgets and computers is really hurting our children.
I remember being stunned the day I watched the airing of a report on ABC Nightly News on babies and screens. Countless times, the baby chose the ipad over their mothers and traditional baby toys. Time and time again, the baby chose the screen. An then there’s this you tube video where the mother blamed Steve Jobs because he had “coded a part of her OS” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXV-yaFmQNk)
What can we do as lightworkers to help both parents and their children in this information age? We must first understand the problem and the dangers.
We are in a constant need of being validated and connected. Social networks makes it so easy to stay connected across the miles. The problem arises when we replace virtual interaction with real person-to-person interaction, where even eye contact and a smile is a commodity.
The American Academy of Pediatrics state:
- Many video programs for infants and toddlers are marketed as “educational,” yet evidence does not support this. Quality programs are educational for children only if they understand the content and context of the video. Studies consistently find that children over 2 typically have this understanding.
- Unstructured play time is more valuable for the developing brain than electronic media. Children learn to think creatively, problem solve, and develop reasoning and motor skills at early ages through unstructured, unplugged play. Free play also teaches them how to entertain themselves.
- Television viewing around bedtime can cause poor sleep habits and irregular sleep schedules, which can adversely affect mood, behavior and learning.
- Young children with heavy media use are at risk for delays in language development once they start school, but more research is needed as to the reasons.
- See more at: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Babies-and-Toddlers-Should-Learn-from-Play-Not-Screens.aspx#sthash.JVQW1jX3.dpuf
The other aspect of the issue to consider is how we interact with our children. About a year ago, my husband and I were at a local restaurant. The service was slow, which enabled us to do some people watching. Several tables over we witnessed a family of both parents glued to their iPhones while the daughter looked down at the table, playing with a straw wrapper. The little girl was clearly lonely and appeared so sad. Neither one of them spoke until the food arrived. Even then, there was no conversation.
What can we, as lightworkers do to being balance to this social problem?
Consider the children in your life right now, perhaps a nephew who is glued to his iPad playing a video game instead socializing at a family function. Instead of sitting quietly by watching him or worse yet, ignoring him, do your best to engage him. Do not be surprised if you may get a few one word answers or very distracted remarks. He may show you his game and excitedly show you how it is played. Keep in mind that this is a good thing that you’re engaging each other, even if it is over an iPad. Even if it frustrates you that the conversation is over a video game, remember that it is just that, a conversation. The two of you are interacting. In person.
Also consider the possibility of doing activity outside. Perhaps go to a museum, a nature hike, the aquarium, anywhere where being “hooked up” will be inconvenient. This means you too. Refrain from checking your phone or mobile devise as well. You too can benefit from being “off the grid.” Try not to make it such a big deal that Johnny went all day without his iPad. In fact, try not to mention it at all. Instead, focus on the interconnectedness of the moments shared in-person.
To take things to an extreme, consider taking long day-trips to a region without a signal. My husband used to take long hikes and runs up trails outside of cell phone range. He tells me that he looks forward to doing the same with our son when he’s older. After being so connected myself, the initial thought of them going somewhere and getting possibly injured without being able to call for help was upsetting, but it wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t have any of this technology and still went out in nature on all-day trips without worry.
When in nature have you and Johnny imagine that your feet are metal and the Earth is a magnet. It is a wonderful exercise to “ground” you both and not feel so “out there” as being hooked up can sometimes do. At the aquarium, imagine you both are like water, flowing and floating your stresses away. These simple exercise can bring you “back to Earth and maintain a clearer perspective on things.”
Simple moments like those mentioned above will bring joy to both you and the children in your life while maintaining the sense if interconnectedness that we all crave.