I realized after my last post on parenting in a digital world, that there were a few more tips to be shared so that we avoid potential technology-related accidents. Most of us have probably seen images or videos making the rounds on social media of people who have suffered some really gruesome accidents and in some unfortunate cases, lives have been lost because basic health and safety procedures were not followed.
It’s important that in educating our children on safety matters we don’t leave anything to chance or assume they know. A friend told me a true story of her son who wanted to experiment and put a cell phone in the microwave because he wanted to see what a hotline looked like! Thankfully he was stopped before he could carry out his experiment. When it comes to safety, we really can’t afford to take things for granted especially when the consequence of any slip up would be life threatening.
Regularly remind your children of the following safety measures to observe and dangerous habits to avoid, when it comes to using their cellphone and other devices. Since we know our kids learn more by observation, let’s also make a conscious effort to practice what we preach.
- Don’t sleep with your cell phone under your pillow or covered.
The NYPD 33rd Precinct shared this image on twitter.
Devices that are covered and not properly ventilated may build up heat and lead to ignition. Bedding, pillows and duvets can easily block airflow and trap heat in the device, so never leave these items on a bed while sleeping, fire officials advise.
Power cords and chargers should be inspected on a regular basis for excessive wear as damaged cords may emit electrical sparks that can start a fire, so damaged or frayed cords should be discarded immediately.
2. When driving, give your cell phone or device a break. Don’t text and avoid making or receiving calls. If you think it might really be that important, park and make the call. Somehow our children who are old enough to drive seem to think they’ve got it all covered, coupled with their penchant for doing multiple things at the same time, a 2-second glance at the device can end up in very disastrous circumstances as shown in this short video.
3. Improve your posture to minimize Text Neck Syndrome. “Text Neck” is fast becoming an epidemic with more and more people (particularly among teens) complaining of back and neck pain usually a result of constantly looking down at the screen. According to a recent study, looking down at your phone with just 15 degrees of forward head tilt more than doubles the pressure on the neck and upper back, and it only gets worse from there. The moment the head moves forward or tilts down, there is a significant increase on the discs of the upper back. This very unnatural position adds stress to the joints, making these devices literally a “pain in the neck”. Please watch this video I promise it’s worth the 3 minutes.
4. Stay safe and alert – Let me share a personal funny story (it really wasn’t funny at the time though). Sometime early this year I was on my way to a church in London and wasn’t quite sure of where I was going. I got off the bus and decided to use google map to find my bearing. I had watched my daughter skillfully use google map while walking so I figured it couldn’t be that hard. I appeared to be making progress and the next thing I knew I was on the floor. Apparently, I didn’t see the raised pavement. I landed on all fours! Luckily the bruise on my hands and knees were not as serious as the dent to my swag! That day I learned a serious lesson – watch where you’re going. When one is engrossed in texting or talking while walking, you’re really not aware or alert. Apart from tripping, bumping into people, walls and stepping into traffic, there’s also the risk of being a target for attacked or robbery. Taking selfies at “dare-devil” locations and listening to music at the volume our kids do with both ears plugged can also be a serious safety hazard.
The point of this post is not to scare you but to remind you that parenting in an online world requires being deliberate about putting in place the necessary safety measures. Just as we teach our children to look both ways before crossing a street, we should teach our children to adopt safety habits while using smartphones and other devices.
Credits: Fox News, YouTube