It is not easy being a parent of a generation born during and after 2000. They have grown up with the Internet, social media, the rise of different forms of terrorism and hate-crime. As these teenagers approach adulthood, against the quickly changing political backdrop, how will they shape the future? According to The World Economic Forum (Global Risks Report 2017), technological innovation, particularly of the fast-paced kind we see today, is full of possible benefits but also burdened with high risk. Today we all started realising that with the joys of parenthood comes a crowd of worries very quickly, unlike before. Here is a brief summary of 3 very difficult trends, that your teen may be exposed. And, how happy is this generation related to physical and mental health?
1. Internet safety: The Internet is fun and informative, but dangerous and unsafe place as well. Its addiction is becoming like drug dependence. Scientists warned that parents may not truly understand social media use. The parents are also urged to monitor potential problems with cyber-bullying, Facebook depression and exposure to unsuitable content. Time has come to rethink about value of time, friendship, and relationships.
Tech use at night is most dangerous. Most of us, we do not know what our kids are doing in their bedrooms at night? It is likely they are texting their friends or chatting on Facebook. The high-tech bedrooms of many teenagers are anything but dark and quiet. They often go to sleep listening to their iPods, and exchange text messages late into the night. In fact, this seems to be today’s teenage behaviour. No wonder they are tired in school and travelling. Well, we need to encourage our child to make it a habit to completely unplug well before bedtime.
2. Lifestyle: Obesity and related illnesses is a major problem. These problems have tripled in the last 15-20 years, putting many children at risk for diabetes and heart disease. Overweight and obese children are also likely to experience a lowered quality of life, an increased likelihood of contracting several serious disorders and a potential reduction in life expectancy.
There are numerous approaches to treat. Learning to avoid fast food/outside meal (with fizzy drinks) and incorporate physical activity into daily life can help the whole family. Rather than spending hours surfing the Web, encourage your child to get involved in hobbies, indoor/outdoor sports or other extracurricular activities. Interestingly, some studies have found that more than 12 percent children between the age of 6 and 19 years have measurable noise induced hearing loss in one or both ears. Exposure to harmful sounds can injure the delicate hair cells in the inner ear. We have a fixed number of cochlear hair cells and they do not regenerate, so it is important to prevent damage in the first place to reduce the need for a hearing aid later in life. To protect their hearing, they should turn down the volume from headsets, televisions and set the top volume level on their player to a safe level.
3. Lack of physical activities and stress: Sedentary lifestyles have become the norm in our region, with children spending more time in front of the TV, computer or video game console than reading books, playing outside or engaging in extracurricular activities. A new study conducted by Columbia University, reported that high-stress teens are twice as likely as low-stress teens to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs.
Your children can learn to keep stress under control by taking good care of themselves (e.g., getting enough sleep at night, eating a healthy diet and exercise every day). It may also be helpful to learn relaxation techniques, find outlets for recreation, and buildup a support group of friends.