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Friday, October 8, 2010

Family MATTERS: UNPLUG!!!!!

Here is another article published by Faith Baptist Family Resource Center. "Family MATTERS" articles focus on helping your family and your marriage. ENJOY!

UNPLUG!

Faith Baptist has teamed with Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Gayla Fields to bring you this column. All books in our articles can be found on the shelves of the Faith Family Resource Center. You may call 539-3434 if you’d like to reserve a book. Leave your name, book name and phone number!



Recommended Books: The Bible and “364 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Children”

Bible Verse: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” -- Romans 12:2


WARNING: Parents! It’s time to unplug! Our electronic-obsessed world is creating individuals who can’t communicate beyond a push button.

Parents can help children juggle the constant stream of stimulus by setting boundaries early and helping their children be discerning about what they watch, type, communicate and absorb.

Statistics show children and adolescents spend between 4 and 7 hours per day using electronics, TV, music, cell phones, video games and computers. They go on to show that children under 6 years old who spend a lot of time with electronics are at increased risk for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder.

Children are learning to swear at younger and younger ages, according to a report released by Socioliguistics Symposium. Why? TV and music has taught them.

It’s time to unplug. The electronic culture can be encroaching and all-encompassing. There is no down time any more. Constant stimulation is always available. If a person can’t talk on the phone, they can text.

If a teen can’t e-mail, they can sit and face a constant flow of info at the open window of their computer. It’s getting harder and harder to close that window.

Cyber bullying via computer or texting is on the rise. Studies show this bullying increases the risk of depression in teens.

Parents need to discuss computer and cell phone problems with their children. Encourage them not to post negative, threatening remarks on social network sites or texts. Explain that all postings are permanent and may be retrieved by future employers, teachers, the government or even spouses!

Parents should also be open about instances they’ve been a victim of or observed cyber bullying.

Parents should be careful not to become hooked themselves. Electronics rob individuals of relationship and communication skills. Their impact may be subtle, but it is disturbing.

Not all electronic media is evil, but we must learn to limit our exposure. As the Bible says, there should be moderation in all things.

Electronics often disrupt sleep. Those who get less than 5 hours of sleep are more likely to experience mental illness within the next year. Children should not go to sleep with a TV or computer on. This is artificial and often too stimulating.

TVs and computers are also robbing children of reading time. The result is poor stimulation to brain receptors that control problem solving and analytical skills.

Parents may consider having an electronic bed-time in which computers, phones, and I-pods are turned in to parents. Any items after 10 p.m. on a school night can be dangerous.

Parents should monitor TV, video games, and internet use. Video games are often violent, and those exposed to them are more likely to be aggressive and defiant. Parents must make sure the games are age appropriate, and parents should not be playing or viewing violent games or TV in presence of children.

Parents may consider having their own facebook (or other social network) page in order to be able to see what types of messages /communication are posted by and about their children.

Remember: use of electronics is usually sedentary. Obesity continues to grow in America as people crowd around TVs, video games, computers and i-pods.

Parents need to be good role models and not sit in front of the TV or computer too much! Try to engage your children in outdoor activities, playing with toys or games together, and outings.

Participate in TV-free weeks. Give prizes! Play games! Go places where TV and computers cannot go.

Break free of our electronic culture and unplug every once in awhile. You and your children will benefit.

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