Limit 'gadget time' to check addiction

The article, "Hooked, Net and sinker - and loving it" (Wednesday), is cause for concern. I am, however, not surprised by the survey finding that Singaporeans are the most emotionally connected to the Web. This situation is made worse by the frequent release of new gadgets that allow people to link up with the world through the Web, social media and social gaming while on the go.

Indeed, it is common to see people engrossed in their gadgets almost everywhere - on public transport, in restaurants and even while crossing the road.

There is nothing wrong with being an innovator or early adopter of new technology. However, self-control must be in place to prevent addiction.

Being obsessed with the Internet and social media has an impact on our daily lives. For instance, it affects our concentration at work and in school, and disrupts our sleep.

It is not uncommon to hear parents complain that their children are staying up till the wee hours for social networking.

Addiction to technology also reduces human interaction, as people now communicate through messaging on their devices rather than face to face.

As a parent, I monitor my children's access to the Web very closely. The Internet is primarily used to do research for school projects. I also make sure the laptop is placed at a prominent spot at home, so I can monitor their Web browsing.

My children own iPhones but I restrict the downloading of games and apps by controlling the password to the app store. They are also not allowed to start social media accounts.

Schools can play a part by holding IT literacy programmes, to educate students on the dangers of being obsessed with the Internet and social media.

To prevent children from being on the Web all the time, families can plan fun activities that are "gadget free", such as an outing to the park or a dinner.

When parents are too flexible with Internet use or do not lead by example, their children will assume it is the norm to be online all the time.

Vivien Tan (Ms)


This article was first published on Oct 10, 2014.
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