Is social media too much for parents to handle?

Is social media too much for parents to handle?

My father used to say ‘children should be seen but not heard’. We grew up hearing this phrase in our family and I had no doubt he picked it up from his parents as my grandparents were of the same mindset. One look was enough for them to discipline us. That’s all it took. Times have changed and our views on parenting have also changed. The sooner our children talk the better. We are constantly comparing our children’s skills and abilities and equating it with intelligence. We have become slightly obsessed with our children and they way they look and how they act. We always think we know best. We seem to think we can determine everything from their friends, to their teachers to how they behave. The days of ‘your teacher is always right’ is rare if non-existent. For some reason we have developed an inherent belief that our children are flawless. We fear that their behaviour will be judged and we will be to blame. It often seems to me that we are always too quick to justify our children’s behaviour rather than disciplining them. My mother often justified her strict discipline by saying ‘you’ll thank me for this one day … one day you’ll have children of your own and you’ll understand me’. I never quite understood her until today when I often wished there was a handbook for raising children detailing steps one should take in each situation. The truth is there isn’t and many of us can only use our upbringing and instinct to guide us. A guide book will tell you how to...
Satisfying your curiosity correctly!

Satisfying your curiosity correctly!

It is dreadfully difficult to battle the temptation to spy on your children when they have left their laptop or computer on. You persuade yourself that no possible harm could come from glancing, ever so quickly, into the cyber world of your youngsters. Maybe you have done it, and not felt guilty about it. A little bewildered maybe, but not guilty… Parents generally know where their kids are each day, and what they plan to do. However, when it comes to their children’s “online lives”, parents have been reduced to the role of spectator. Technology today has a big part to do with the life of a youngster. It influences their education, social life and friendships, yet parents still cannot regulate what their children are doing online. Society has a drinking age and a driving age, but there’s no concrete insight on the age children can safely go online unaccompanied, or communicate to a friend via mobile phone. So, what about the role of parents? Should tabs be kept on their children? Nowadays, children are heard laughing over a video on youtube or are just using the Internet to discover a treasure trove of knowledge. Gone are the days were children would ask their mother’s to help out with a history project or use an encyclopedia to retrieve information. Mothers also used to overhear their children’s phone conversations with their friends, however, for today’s children, so much communicating goes on silently, via e-mails, social networks and text messages, which is all out of parent’s range. Parents’ want and need to know what their children are up to, and up...
Have we forgotten our teenage years? by Mikela Fenech Pace

Have we forgotten our teenage years? by Mikela Fenech Pace

Our instant chats were notes we would exchange at school – I recently found a few and discovered the pains of my teenage years, horrified at how my judgement see-sawed from day to day and what complexes plagued me during my final school years. Not to mention my diary which I have promised my kids I will allow them to read when they are older. The truth is our children are no different to us growing up. The only difference is that their means to communicate has changed. The stuff they write about is the same, their attitudes similar and their craving for being accepted a fact of life. Whilst in many ways easier today, the downside is one very simple notion – What goes online stays online forever. Whilst us parents have the wisdom of knowing this and thus measure our words online, our children are freer and often do not have the capacity to weigh the long-term consequences. Flicking through the notes I used to write to my friends and their responses it would indeed be difficult to imagine them being there online. They represent a girl I was but do not recognise. In many ways I feel quite sad as to the difficulties I must have had dealing with myself, my siblings, my parents and my peers, yet happy to know that it is a phase all children have to go through. We often forget how difficult teenage years are. Inherently they represent the in-between phase between childhood and adulthood. It’s a time for self-discovery and adventure. It is also a rough emotional time and a...
Electronic devices: the back-breaking facts-by Physiotherapist Carolyn Cassano

Electronic devices: the back-breaking facts-by Physiotherapist Carolyn Cassano

Gone are the days when kids spend their free time playing hopscotch and catch or kicking a ball in the garden. The new generation of youngsters have become increasingly reliant on smartphones, tablets and computers for a lot of their entertainment. The fact that kids are spending prolonged periods of time hunched over their electronic devices means that they are developing a forward head posture, which health professionals are referring to as ‘iposture syndrome’. If the head shifts in front of the shoulders, as is happening with this posture, the weight of the head increases, and the muscles of the upper back and neck need to work much harder to support it, leading to pain and muscle strain . This is a relatively new complaint and as a result young kids are presenting with physical injuries usually seen in adults. Kids as young as 5 are developing chronic neck and back pain and early signs of spine curvature from hunching over their gadgets. Osteopathy Australia‘s Dr Nahla Khraim has been in practice for 23 years and is seeing more and more parents bring in children for treatment. “Over the past five years children as young as three and four are coming to clinics with postural problems or back pain. It used to be when they were teenagers,” she says. “It’s difficult not to make a connection between smartphone development and the younger age of kids coming in with postural problems.” In children, the musculoskeletal system is still developing, and so pain related to computer usage can have serious consequences. Many kids sit in awkward positions whist using their gadgets, such...
5 ways of using technology to stimulate speech & language development- by Veronica Montanaro

5 ways of using technology to stimulate speech & language development- by Veronica Montanaro

‘There’s an app for that’……Anyone who knows me would have heard me use that phrase at some point or other. It crops up in conversations about baking, teaching, work or about life in general. Having studied the way young children learn how to use an iPad, I am not surprised that I am associated with touch-screen technology. It is very common for people look in my direction when they say the words tablet, touch screen or app. I am often greeted with ‘I found a really good app…..’. There is no doubt that I am passionate about the potential that technology has for children to learn the colours, vocabulary, puzzles, animal sounds, alphabet and songs. There are over 650,000 educational applications available on the iTunes store with thousands of apps are added each week. However, one of my great concerns is that a child is given a tablet, with one of these great applications, and he or she sits alone with no interaction, other than with the machine itself. As a speech and language pathologist I am particularly interested in children’s speech and language development. So here are a few tips that you can use to help your child’s speech and language development when using tablets. Turn taking is the root of communication. Turn taking is in everything we do and say. Any app can be shared in this manner. “It’s your turn. It’s my turn.”  Some children are possessive over the tablet and do not want to share their screen time with anyone. Using this approach will teach your child that you are not going to take the tablet away from them...