Parenting: Computer use: establishing guidelines for kids and teens

Napabalita recently sa China na may isang 19-year old boy na pinutol ang kanyang sariling kamay sa paniniwalang maiaalis niya ang kanyang internet addiction.

Read: Teen chops off hand to ‘cure’ Internet addiction


Image: Reuters

Leaving a note at home saying that he just went to the hospital and will be back soon, the boy ended up needing surgery para ma-re-attach ang kanyang kamay. Hindi sigurado ng mga duktor if he will regain the use of his hand. Gulat na gulat ang kanyang pamilya sa nangyari.

Paano nga ba natin maiiwasan na mangyari ito sa mga kabataan?

According to Maribel Sison Dionisio, parenting and relationsip expert, the general rule is controlling the amount of time ng paggamit nila ng computers. “The idea is to cut down computer time, but not stopping your children from total computer use. They are the computer age kids. If your teen has to use computer for schoolwork, generally two hours is enough.”

Dagdag pa niya, sa mga mas batang students, it helps to sit down with them when using the computer. “More than that, the computer is used to connect with friends or to learn more about a certain topic. So, it will be helpful to sit down with your child especially if the child is still in grade school, to find out alternative ways to socialize and learn more.”

Dionisio also has tips for limiting computer use:

1. Have a schedule.

It will be helpful to make a schoolday schedule with your child from the time he gets up to the time he sleeps. Post this in his room and in a common area frequently visited.

For example:


Click to download and print!

2. Go out and play.

Arrange play dates with classmates, friends, or neighbors. Offer board games and other outdoor games. Let him know that using computers is one way to have fun, but there are also many other ways.

3. House rules.

Set house rules with regards to the use of gadgets in the house.

Some rules that may be set:
– Set an internet curfew (internet up to 9:00 pm only)
– Set a specific time for using the computer for games
– Set a specific time for using the computer for schoolwork
– Determine what games or websites are allowed in the house.

Parents need to talk with kids, in a gentle and firm way –and ask them the advantages of these computer games and sites.

4. Consider their ages.

Don’t buy many gadgets for your kids until they are in their late teens.

Sa pagse-set ng rules, payo ni Dionisio, mabuting i-approach ang mga bata in a calm way. “Avoid shouting, and no put-downs. Listen to them and understand their joys of playing the games.”

At habang pinag-uusapan ninyo ang mga rules, it helps to also share your concern about the use of computer games and explain the disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages may be:

1. Sa social aspect, children can become loners and insensitive to the people around them
2. Possible health problems – neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye fatigue
3. Sa mental aspect naman, their attention span may become shortened, affecting their performance in school.

Dionisio reminds us that while house rules with regards to computer use will not guarantee discipline, it will ensure more order and peace at home.

At hindi rin naman final sentence ang house rules na ito, at hindi lang parents ang dapat may input. “These house rules can be reviewed every three months to check for its appropriateness. It is best for parents to get the input of their children and to discuss the pros and cons of each house rule regarding the computer use.”

By being open with your children, mas madali silang mapapasunod. “It will be easier this way to get their cooperation if they discuss things rather than impose the rules. Offer alternative activities like sports, arts, music, cooking or baking, or even just reading and chatting face to face with friends.”

Mahirap sa simula na mag-impose ng rules, lalo na kung nasanay na ang mga bata sa kanilang mga gadgets. Just be firm sa execution ng rules, and before you know it, hindi na laging naka-gadgets ang mga bata sa bahay.

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