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Digital Wellness

by Eddie Rayner

Quality not Quantity

Parents, have you ever wondered about the ‘Digital Wellness’ aspect of your child’s upbringing in today’s technological world? How do you ensure that your child stays in tip-top condition online? Amal Shahine, principal at Horizon Private School Branch, provides perspective on this topic.

How do you view technology usage amongst students?

Technology usage is becoming an integral part of youngsters’ lives. This is how they play, they communicate, they research, they read, they get to know others.

What do you consider to be a healthy amount of usage?

I believe children are spending time on technology much more than the ‘healthy amount’ of usage. However, I think it is more about the quality than the quantity of usage. A child can spend one-hour playing aggressive games or connecting with virtual people he knows nothing about, which can have a very negative impact! Alternatively, time can be spent doing research, or exploring new countries, or studying with classmates, benefitting the student considerably!

When does technology use become a problem?

When children become too involved in the virtual world and start getting disconnected from the real world in which they live. Also, when they let technology invade their privacy and, unintentionally, they start having their life details available to the public.

What are the consequences of over usage?

Children will develop very poor communication skills. They would not know how to communicate with adults, with peers, as well as with those younger than them. Similarly, family relationships will be strongly affected. Children will spend time in front of the screen much more than they do with their family members.

How do you suggest youngsters find a balance?

Quality, as well as the quantity of technology usage, should be controlled. Technology should be used as a helpful tool and not as an escape from the real world. There is true power in technology, but there is also a risk. The school, community, and family should create a high level of awareness among youngsters to make them understand all the facets of technology.

Amal Shahine is the principal at Horizon Private School Branch.