School va­ca­tions need not worry par­ents

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Va­ca­tions are sup­posed to be wel­come by chil­dren and par­ents both. But they seem to have be­come a source of ten­sion for par­ents, wor­ried as they are about their chil­dren spend­ing hours on iPads and mo­bile phones, surf­ing the In­ter­net or play­ing on­line games.

Their con­cern is not ground­less, though, be­cause ad­dic­tion to elec­tronic gad­gets or the In­ter­net could jeop­ar­dize stu­dents’ health. For ex­am­ple, long hours of ex­po­sure to com­puter screens could dam­age their eyes and hold­ing iPads and mo­bile phones could lead to fa­tigue in the ten­don sheath, and even­tu­ally tenosyn­ovi­tis. And since elec­tronic prod­ucts are ra­dioac­tive to dif­fer­ent de­grees, the longer one uses them, the more health dam­age they can cause.

Be­sides, if chil­dren con­tinue play­ing on­line games late into or through­out the night, they will up­set their cir­ca­dian rhythm and not get enough rest, and thus be­come more vul­ner­a­ble to ill­ness. More im­por­tantly, spend­ing hours on elec­tronic gad­gets is a sheer waste of time not only be­cause the same time could be spent more pro­duc­tively, but also be­cause it hin­ders face-to-face in­ter­ac­tion with par­ents and peers.

The dis­ad­van­tages of ad­dic­tion to elec­tronic gad­gets can­not be over­looked, yet in this age of in­for­ma­tion it is not only dif­fi­cult but also un­nec­es­sary to keep chil­dren away from them— you don’t want your child to be tech-ig­no­rant in times when gad­gets can help them ac­cess fa­vor­able in­for­ma­tion.

Many salu­tary games and soft­ware can be used to help im­prove chil­dren’s knowl­edge, de­velop their in­tel­li­gence and make them learn skills. And quite a few on­line ed­u­ca­tion plat­forms of­fer stu­dents high-qual­ity cour­ses dur­ing va­ca­tions that can en­hance their knowl­edge and teach them life skills.

What there­fore chil­dren need is proper guid­ance from par­ents and el­ders on how to use elec­tronic gad­gets and on the In­ter­net. Par­ents also need to ne­go­ti­ate with their chil­dren a cer­tain set of rules, which should in­clude how long they can play with elec­tronic de­vices. This is im­por­tant be­cause it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to stop them from us­ing com­put­ers and mo­bile phones. Al­beit, the in-built “kid mode” in many mo­bile phones and tablets can al­low par­ents to pre­vent their chil­dren from veer­ing into un­wanted ter­ri­tory.

Since chil­dren tend to copy their par­ents, their role mod­els, ac­tions, par­ents should re­frain from talk­ing on mo­bile phones and keep­ing their eyes glued to tablets for long; they must also avoid watch­ing TV for long hours. In­stead, they should spend as much time as pos­si­ble with their chil­dren, teach­ing them the valu­able lessons of life and help­ing them with their homework.

Since chil­dren’s nor­mal rou­tines are prone to change dur­ing va­ca­tions, par­ents should ask them to set a dif­fer­ent timetable which could in­clude do­ing house­work, get­ting phys­i­cal ex­er­cise and play­ing sports, pur­su­ing their hob­bies and do­ing hol­i­day homework. For chil­dren who have abun­dant free time and rel­a­tively lit­tle homework dur­ing va­ca­tions, their par­ents can, for ex­am­ple, take them on hik­ing trips or make

them play more out­door games. This will not only en­sure chil­dren re­main phys­i­cally fit and fo­cused on stud­ies, but also leave them lit­tle time to play on­line games and chat on mo­bile phones.

Th­ese are just a fewways of mak­ing a child’s va­ca­tion mean­ing­ful and healthy. Par­ents can surely think of other ways to keep their chil­dren away from mo­bile phones, tablets and the In­ter­net dur­ing va­ca­tions and yet make their hol­i­days in­ter­est­ing and worth­while. The au­thor re­searches on child ed­u­ca­tion at Bei­jing Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity.

LI FENG / CHINA DAILY

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