Saheli organized a wonderful workshop featuring pediatrician Dr. Maya Raghavan, Professor Uma Millner and Gail Sullivan, a social worker on Sunday, March 11th at the Burlington Public Library.
The event discussed the challenges and opportunities that parents face in an age where children as young as one or two are being hooked to phones, ipads and other tools. "My grand daughter who is only 2 refuses to eat without watching youtube videos on her iPhone," said Rita Shah.
"Distractions while eating have always been an issue through the centuries. In the old days it may have been books or TV. Now it is devices," said, Dr. Maya Raghavan who helped put devices and social media into context. She emphasized while the new tools appeared to take over the lives of the young people, parents need not panic. She emphasized the old fashioned ideas of setting limits and rules holds as much in the digital age as it did in past decades when these tools did not exist.
Dr. Uma Millner stressed the importance of having good communication with children. She emphasized the importance of rituals and routines and said the new age tools did not change that need.
At a time when parents are really busy with both parents working long hours or perhaps odd hours, the tools come in as a handy baby-sitter. While that is a useful, it is important they felt to have opportunities to have time for productive conversations. Whether it be in the car or at home, making the time to talk is important.
Parents expressed concern about delineating the boundaries between social media scrutiny to emphasize safety versus privacy for the child. “ You should use software to ensure parental control on social media. Parents who have good communication with their children know them well. You will know when something goes wrong” said Dr. Raghavan.
The conversations were very interesting and enlightening. We look forward to future discussions.