There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.Nelson Mandela
Although the former revolutionary and South African president spoke these words in 1995, they still hold true in this digital age.
As parents, we play an important role in our kids’ development. However, we need to remember that we are not alone in raising the next generation of movers, shakers and change makers; it takes an entire network of support to monitor our kids’ development and ensure that they remain protected and healthy. These are some of the ways the different parts of your child’s environment can enable him/her to thrive in this digital age.
1. A healthy home environment
Technology is a wonderful thing – it helps our children connect to and interact with the vast world around them in a way that we never could in our childhoods. However, as with all good things in life, too much of it is harmful. Excessive device use has spawned several mental and physical health consequences among children worldwide, including myopia (short-sightedness), device dependency and screen and gaming addiction.
As parents, we need to be more proactive in monitoring our children’s device use. Setting house rules and communicating why these rules need to be followed is an important way to cultivate healthy device habits. Some important rules are device-free time blocks, restricting their online activity to certain child-appropriate apps and websites and getting your consent before making any purchases, entering any personal information and posting any images on social media platforms. A parental management application can come in handy for this. Here at Plano, we’ve developed the plano app to make this process easier.
Moreover, having an open communication channel and building a relationship on the foundation of trust and support is crucial. Actively listening to their feelings and looking out for signs of addiction, cyberbullying and more are important measures to ensure that these issues do not escalate.
2. An active friend circle
For children, making friends is an important part of their development. Not only do their friendships enable them to develop their identities, they affect our children’s health. Studies show that children with more active friends are likely influenced to engage in physical activity as there are less ‘barriers’ such as feeling self-conscious, lack of enjoyment, self-discipline and energy.
These days, for more and more of our children, gadgets are replacing outdoor play. This lack of physical activity has negative health consequences, one of which is myopia. An active friend circle is an integral way of ensuring that our children’s overall social, emotional and physical development is healthy.
3. The Expert: Visit to the optometrist
Bringing your child to regular and comprehensive eye checks is just as important as taking them to the dentist or paediatrician. Regular eye checks from a young age are important for early diagnosis and identifying vision problems, an important step in preventing the progression of myopia. Click here to find out how often you should take your child to your nearest optometrist.
That’s exactly why we’ve developed plano Eyecheck, an affordable, easy-to-use, patient-centred online platform – to help close the loop for eye care service delivery both in Singapore and in the near future, the world. It is especially necessary in this digital age for our children to get into the eye health system and give their eyes the due protection they deserve.* plano Eyecheck is currently only available in Singapore. For a limited time only, all appointments made using the plano Eyecheck platform will receive a S$50 voucher to offset the cost of the eye check-up. Book your eye check-up today!
As the old African adage goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Indeed, in this digital age, our children need a healthy ecosystem of support not only from us parents, but their peers and health experts. Our collaborative effort in monitoring their development will enable them to experience all that our vast world has to offer while remaining protected and healthy. Remember, children are our future, so let’s set them up for success from an early age!