The importance of family and community

Posted on: 10th December, 2018

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

Amanda Roe supports adults and children to resolve emotional issues. She provides mind and body solutions for anxiety, trauma, addiction and psychosomatic illnesses so you can overcome pain and transform your live. If you would like to improve your health or support a loved one Amanda can be contacted at 087 6331898.

In the lead up to Christmas parents should be aware that adults and children are spending longer on the Internet. For many this fun activity is becoming compulsive and for an increasing number it is becoming addictive.

Social networks, online shopping and gaming manufacturers all know how to persuade and motivate users to keep returning by using techniques such as:

Scarcity – Black Friday and Cyber Monday were examples of this.

Social proof – the documented number of likes and forwards a post receives to convince you it is important enough to read.

Tribes – keep you connected with a desire to play or stay online with your community.

Likes /Shares – are designed to make you feel important

Cliff-hangers – create suspense and keep you returning to find out more

These online activities increase our dopamine production. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls feelings of reward and pleasure, it also regulates our actions and we are more likely to keep doing activities when we feel rewarded.

In the UK children are spending on average 6.5 hours on screens per day, and UK adults are spending on average eight hours 41 minutes on screens, which is more than they are sleeping, 16 million UK adults suffer from sleepless nights and a third say they have insomnia.

The Internet is awake 24/7 and a new phenomenon FoMO (a fear of missing out) is fueling this compulsion. In fact 65 per cent of adults under 35 admit they look at their phones within five minutes of waking up, and the World Health Organisation has even included a new International classification of disease; Gaming disorder, which is the inability to stop gaming.

Almost half of 18-34 year-olds say their social media feeds made them feel unattractive. 52 per cent of school age students said social media makes them feel less confident about their appearance and how interesting their life is, and teens deemed addicted to their smartphones show higher scores in depression, anxiety, impulsive behaviour and insomnia.

Digital compulsion is a very difficult problem to deal with largely because many of us do not realise that we are addicted.

I am a mother of teenage children and digital compulsion is a very real problem for us: Finding balance in a digital age is important however achieving the right balance is challenging.

For parents modelling healthy usage and leading by example is important… 27 per cent of UK children say their parents have double standards about technology.

Tribes are one of the main drivers of online usage. Tribe is another word for family and community so the good news is…Christmas is a great time to strengthen family bonds and spend time together. Initially children may opt out given a choice. What I have found helpful is having a parenting app like Ourpact on their smartphone. It keeps communication open, allows them to have independence and helps us to support them to regulate their time online.

If we are encouraging our children to spend less time online then it is important that we are available to spend time with them. Make plans, enjoy fun activities with real people, talk, cook and eat together, go for walks, watch a movie, play games, go out, visit neighbours, volunteer, just do things together. Christmas holidays are a great time to re-establish these habits and once established make your resolution this year to keep them going.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a Wonderful 2019


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