School vacations need not worry parents
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.