In this day and age, it is a universal truth that adolescents are glued to their smartphones unless some sort of intervention or world ending event occurs. While some may say that this is perfectly natural given the rapid technological change that we are experiencing on a global scale, it also must be recognized that a parent’s job is to provide an intervention and lay down boundaries towards the greater goal of establishing a well balanced childhood.
Although most jobs in the future will be related to computers and humans may well spend most of their time looking into screens, we are not quite at that future yet. One indication that we are heading in this direction is that you cannot even sit on a plane, in a doctor’s office, or – in some cases – use a treadmill or elliptical at the gym without being faced with digital screen. For the time being, most of us can agree that it is important to engage in activities that keep us grounded and connected to non-digital reality.
In this post we’ll explore four activities that may help your teen develop intelligence and discipline away from their shiny iPhones and tablets.
Anything involving exercise is good, but if your teen is not so much into team sports, rock climbing presents an excellent alternative. Rock climbing is like sport and puzzle solving combined – there is an intellectual aspect to it that appeals to those who may not appreciate aggressive games like football. Climbing is becoming more and more popular and there are plenty of specialty gyms in most major cities. There are official leagues and competitions, which may encourage discipline and a healthy sense of competition, and if they really take to it you could find yourself on climbing vacations in gorgeous national parks!
Playing an Instrument
Although there is sometimes an initial hesitation while they slog through the learning process, kids love playing music once they’ve learned a few tricks. Not only does it help build confidence and collaborative skills, it also gives them something to practice and enjoy other than flipping through Instagram posts and developing social anxiety. Many music stores have rent to buy programs in case it doesn’t work out, and of course lessons are always a good idea as well.
It may seem obvious, but the near extinct art of reading a book is a fantastic way to get kids off their phones. If you can instill a love of reading in your child from a young age, they will be able to entertain themselves and achieve richer internal lives because of it. A great way to achieve this is by reading to them at bedtime when they are very young; books like The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia and Tales From Earthsea are all great books that will last a while. If they want to read books that you think may be a bit inappropriate when they are older, just remember that they are already exposed to mature material from the Internet. Whatever content blocker you may have, they’ll surely find a way around it, as sure as they love their smartphones.