It has been well documented that children that are from households that are considered “low income” spend more of their day playing video games and other gadgets than children that are from “higher income” households. The children that are from richer families tend to spend more of their time participating in other types of constructive activities. There is a new way that the children of this generation are spending their time, and it is considered wasting time.
This waste of time by poorer children is in relation to the lack of time that they spend with their parents on a daily basis. These parents often work more than one job, or work odd hours in order to keep the family afloat. This means that these children are losing precious time that they could be spending with their parents cooking dinner, exercising together, or just talking about what happened to them at school that day.
Research has also shown that infants that are born into economically disadvantaged households do not hear as many words from their native language being spoken around them as children that are born into more financially stable homes. This results in the less advantaged children knowing fewer words when they enter school. It has been concluded that by the time these kids are in preschool, they have heard 20 million fewer words in their short lives versus children from wealthier households. This statistic is not financially related. It just means that all parents should talk with their kids more often, starting when they are newborns.
All parents, regardless of financial status, should also make a diligent effort to find out what their children are doing on the computer, what games they are playing, and who they are talking to on their cell phones. This is a problem that is prevalent in all economic levels, but there is even a greater concern as household income levels drop.
There was a study conducted in 2010 that concluded that children who were born to parents that did not have advanced education spent almost 2 more hours a day watching television and using social media than children who had parents with advanced education. The difference in the amount of time was less than twenty minutes before the turn of the century.
Many households have numerous iPods, iPads, smartphones, Xboxes, Wiis, and laptops. If you are a parent, you may have found some of the gadgets behind sofa cushions, under your bed, or even in your car. You should always ask your child to pick an alternate form of entertainment like a book.
Before your children get out of school for various school breaks, set the ground rules for how much daily exposure they can have to their favorite gadgets. You can implement a mandatory reading hour so that everyone in the home can pick up their favorite book and read it. You should also ban any electronics during meal time. This includes the television. Make it a habit to have conversations with your children. Ask your child open-ended questions so you will not get a bunch of one word responses from them.