Unplugging for a Better Life
The question is, how do we get our teenagers to ‘unplug’ so that they can improve their health, their relationships and their life? In trying to conquer the hold that technology has on their lives they need all the help they can get. Firstly, as parents we need to demand that our education system be more closely aligned with what matters most – Wellbeing. We need to help teenagers tap into their inner wisdom with concrete life skills that redefine what success is. They were not granted this life to collect followers, or accumulate victories, or even avoid failures. They were given it to find purpose in all life experiences and be real – find who they truly are.
Did you know?
72% of children under the age of eight are using mobile devices and the average teenagers spends 28 hours a week on their screens? The average smart phone user checks their phone every six and a half minutes, and teenagers check their phones over one hundred and fifty times a day. Nearly 80 000 children suffer from severe depression and 19,00 teenagers were hospitalised last year due to mental health related issues. The number of teenagers admitted to hospital for self-harm has increased by 68% in the last ten years. This data would suggest that our education is failing because it’s not addressing the child’s needs in its entirety. Moreover, does this dramatic increase in mental health issues with teenagers have something to do with their increased time spent online? Is there a connection? What are your thoughts?
New Rules on What’s Socially Acceptable
The problem with smart phones is that they go with us everywhere and teenagers need to learn that social media is the servant. I believe that we need to introduce a new code for socially unacceptable phone behaviour. Behaviour such as;
- Pulling out your phone during a meal at home, or in a restaurant
- Spending time alone in your bedroom on your phone
- Constantly checking your phone for messages, whilst in the company of others
- Leaving your phone on the table screen facing up so that you can see any messages, whilst talking to a friend
- Unlimited access to electronic devices for children in the home
- Electronic devices not being collected from teenagers 90 minutes before they go to sleep.
Personal Development for Teenagers
I believe that we need to provide life skills to our teenagers so that they can make better decisions in the rapidly changing world that they find themselves in. The best process that I have found for this is Stephen Covey’s personal leadership course – ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. The 7 Habits helps teenagers develop a much-needed perspective of what is really important in life. It works with an inside out approach that gives us a skillset and mindset to cope with adversity and makes us less likely to be stressed out because of a setback. This is vital for teenagers because they are guaranteed to experience rejection and failure. The 7 habits build confidence by helping us to change, adapt and take responsibility for our moods, attitudes and behaviours. It’s crucial that we provide teenagers with these life skills in order for them to thrive in the 21st century. What do you think?
I would welcome your thoughts, contributions and questions relating to this topic. Please email me at Clinton@unitededucationgroup.com