Why GenZ Needs to Unplug Once in a While
School’s out and many Gen Zs, aka Digital Natives, are not spending their summers outdoors, but instead they are indoors doing iEverything – gaming, posting, or texting using one or two devices with a screen like an iPhone or iPad, video games, computers or TV.
I confess, we have iEverything and here’s the problem: my Gen Zs never seem to get enough screen time and it really bothers me. In fact, I am so frustrated by the amount of time my little Digital Natives WANT to be connected to iEverything, that screens have become my enemy. I have grown to dislike iEverything.
Generation Z is also called a bunch of Couch Potatoes due to the amount of time they spend connected on their iEverything….Of course they are Couch Potatoes because we (parents and society) let them have “iEverything” and treat it like a babysitter or a friend.
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that the average child spends seven hours of their day looking at a screen, be it a video game, computer, cell phone, or television. Statistics confirm this screen addiction and I bet it’s higher in the summer. Forrester reports 60% of Gen Zs share information online while JWT reports 76% age 13-17 and 39% age 8-12 have a mobile device. Many Gen Zs are dual users – using two of their iEverything at once.
Why do I Dislike iEverything? Because too much makes Gen Zs Lazy, Vulnerable and Socially Inept.
- Lazy – Screens make kids lazy, overweight and potentially obese from being sedentary. The World Health Organization has named computer games as the single biggest cause of childhood obesity and studies show gaming makes you hungrier! Research shows that 10-year olds are weaker today than they were in the late 1990s.
- Vulnerable – Most Gen Zs are not mature enough to enter the world of social media or Xbox Live, especially if they are under 13. Hackers hack into Xbox Live, talk trash and threaten kids to get information. And “Selfie” photos on Instagram and Facebook attract way too many critics, perverts or bullies. This video will make you deactivate your kids’ Instagram or Facebook ASAP!
- Socially Inept – Most screen use is used solo and even though they may be “in contact” with their friends or strangers, it’s not nearly the same as physical engagement. We all see teens hide behind their devices so they don’t have to communicate. These kids withdraw as much as possible, and then grow into socially inept adults. Studies prove that excessive gaming messes a GenZ up, causing serious social dysfunction and even a loss of sensitivity to others.
So what do you do if your Digital Natives have iEverything and you see the signs of screen addiction?
- Let them have an iSomething because it’s how Generation Z operates BUT
- Limit screen time to 1-2 hours per day (this is what AAP recommends)
- Set limits: Allow screens after 7pm or weekends only
- Get them out of the screen dungeon and onto a field
- Learn the social media with them and get yourself an account to monitor them
- Teach them digital social etiquette, especially if they are under 12
I know that it’s MUCH easier to let Gen Zs do iEverything all day. But parents hurt their development by letting them screen all the time – they will get lazy, overweight, vulnerable to dangerous people and become socially inept. So be a Parent and set some rules, your Gen Zs will like your protection because they want it.