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How can we protect the kids from tech addiction if they need it to fit in with their peers?

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 23, 2022
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Can you come up with a feasible way to protect the kids from tech addiction in an environment where they mingle with kids who have unrestricted access to tech and use it as a status symbol?
The problem boils down to:
  1. Parents buy themselves time to do their own thing by letting their kids binge on their tech addiction of choice (cartoons, gaming, social media)
  2. Once the kids get addicted to tech nothing else can compete with it. They are unhappy doing almost anything else. They see everything as a temporary hurdle on the way to getting back to their tech.
  3. When they are away from their tech, they talk about it with anyone who would listen. This makes it a primary topic of conversation in kindergarten/school.
  4. To protect their kids from tech addiction, some parents restrict or completely withhold their kids' access to phones, computers, TVs.
  5. A kid who has restricted access to tech doesn't fit in with their peers at school.
  6. They desire access to tech even more due to "everyone else having it".
Keeping their kids away from gadgets despite their peers having access it brings the following risks:
  • their child ever-growing resentment towards their parents for "ruining their life with their stupid rules"
  • making their kid an outcast among peers (permanent psychological consequences)
  • the value perception and desire for access to tech increases in the child's eyes to the point of obsession
  • the kids will hate every minute until their precious gadget is back
5
Creative contributions

Early development of other hobbies and technology time restriction

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Michaela D
Michaela D May 24, 2022
While children as still small it is easier to ban or greatly limit device usage. Also, the younger they are, the more rapidly the brain develops. During those earlier years, encourage them to develop hobbies that don't include screens like sports, reading, music, and art. After a certain age, peer pressure for technology is too strong and children will feel isolated. At that point, you allow them some (more) time with their devices. If they have hobbies they love, they will be ok with restricted time. They will still participate in tech conversations but they will not need to fill their days with technology.
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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stankovića month ago
Michaela D Darko Savic Since the issue is how to make non-tech stuff status symbols, I would also advise trying to have the school set up days in which kids, with the help of their teachers or parents, present their non-tech achievements. Or are praised for it by teachers. Like medals from sports, or paintings, playing instruments. But in less formal settings than school talent shows, as everybody films there too. Just in the classroom.
Perhaps interrupting something they already know it's important, like actual schoolwork, would better signal importance to the other kids.
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Michaela D
Michaela Da month ago
Miloš Stanković great idea. School tends to focus on academic achievement and it would be very good for kids that are talented in other areas to shine like that. Also, it would inspire others to develop hobbies other than technology.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
When tech (talk/play/show) becomes a status symbol in school all focus turns toward it. Maybe even more so for kids who grew up with restricted/no access to it.
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Tackle the problem together with other parents

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Povilas S
Povilas S May 23, 2022
The answer seems simple to me. Encourage other parents to do the same (restrict the access). It would be healthier for everyone.
We could draw a comparison with smoking here - if cool kids smoke and others want to do the same to fit in, it's not the problem of parents whose kids don't smoke that they don't let them smoke, it's rather vice versa, smoking is the problem. Of course, no parent lets their kid smoke perhaps, at least until a certain age, but the allegory fits here nevertheless. Tech addiction, especially when it comes to children, is a real, universal problem, so the parents who allow their kids unlimited access to addictive tech should be the unhealthy exception, not vice-versa.
How to make it work on a practical level is another question, but initiating parent meetings, programs dedicated to this in school/kindergarten, or creating parent groups (on social media or otherwise) whose children hang out together the most and discussing the problem and means to solve it together might help.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
Imagine 20 kids without tech in a classroom where 5 people have phones and talk about gaming all day long. Who wins?
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
Darko Savic :D Ok, I see
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
However, the "tech-savvy" kids would win when it comes to the kids' world, but this wouldn't apply to parents. Imagine the class teacher and the majority of the parents supporting the prevention of tech addiction in the class and you're one of the five parents who don't give a damn and let your child use the phone all day long.
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Create a profile showing how much effort people invested in becoming viral

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J. Nikola
J. Nikola May 24, 2022
A fun profile on social media that explains the path that popular influencers, actors, athletes, etc. needed to go through in order to become popular. Develop specific metrics using icons, medals, and scores that could be easily understood by everyone using social media and use them to help kids understand how much effort they need to invest to become great at something.
What would you take into account when discovering and calculating these metrics that could be inspiring for the kids and make them realize it's not easy to become or be popular?
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I guess this is what the Amish are about

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic May 23, 2022
However, to my knowledge, even the Amish are losing members of their communities when teens get in contact with other tech-teens.
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"If you can't stop the disgrace - lead it!" Also, measures against dependancies. Use pedophiles to disttract children from gadgets

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Mikhail Korsanov
Mikhail Korsanov May 28, 2022
Why stopping children from using techs? Show them the most valuable and interesting ways to use them. Buy them devices, which are less hurtful for health and eyes.
Also, teach them how their emotional system works, and what makes people more or less successful in life and in games. Teach and train them to manage their desires and emotions so that to be happy in life, "here and now" and in the future, and successful in their goals and wishes by using techs and without them. If you don't know that yourself, use compenent psychologists for that.
Apply techniques of cognitive and behavioral therapy and methods of direct influence on emotions, and dopamine trainings to prevent neurotic behaviors and over-dependency from opinions of peers and techs.
Offer games that allow children to become self-determined, and happy as they are, not dependent of opinions or anything.
Make sure children get enough of love, respect and moral support in families. This prevents most of problems, whatever.
Teach parents about the most essential psychological needs of children to make sure the children are satisfied as for these needs. When children are satisfied in love, hugs, respect, freedom, diversity, a feeling of the better future, support from the relatives, all kinds of ill dependancies from substances, games, TV, people, food, etc, are much less probable to develop!
Starting from 10-13, help the child to build his/her life strategy, to dream about the better future, and build a plan how to achieve it. The plan should include items which are pleasant or at least not disgusting and annoying to accomplish for the specific child.
Make sure the child has enough of offline interesting games and other opportunities to spend time with his peers. This will compete with Minecraft and Roblox.
Make sure your children most of time in the day have an adult person around, very interesting for them. It may be a teacher, tutor, adult friend, or a neighbor.
Now I can say a very strange thing: the pedophiles are often the people who can make children interested in communication besides minecraft. I do not mean sexual interaction, but sublimating the sexual attraction to children may lead to being a loving and motivated person who is really interesting for children. This is not my idea, it's from history. Many of the most outstanding pedagogues were either pedophiles or latent ones. This is the same in all countries.
This is quite a surprising but true thought: punishing, condemnation and fear of pedophiles leads to overdependancy from minecraft and social networks in children. Use technologies to control that pedophiles do not do anything hurting the children, and then bring them into contact with children as much as children want. This will distract children from gadgets and give an urge to their personal development.
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General comments

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Miloš Stanković
Miloš Stankovića month ago
I do not have kids, but I have parents, and they are addicted too. So maybe having a joint effort not to have adults at home play with their phones in front of the kids could benefit the kids by setting a better example.
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