The challenges that teenagers go through have evolved with the evolving world. Just a few years back, the common challenges were drug abuse, peer pressure, gang related behavior, and so on. These challenges are still present, but they have also changed in nature and tactic due to the digital era. Today, instead of drug addiction, the teens are being addicted to social media, online gaming, and online gambling.
Presently, teens spend more time with their smartphones, iPhone, tablets, and computer than in socializing and doing the traditional teen activities. Parents have been trying to keep their teenage boys out of the streets or away from certain gangs. Therefore, when they sit in their rooms all they with their computer, some parents think that their children are safe the perceived evils of the world.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. The new evils are on the face of the computer and on the internet. Most of the children are spending most of their time on social media and online either gaming or gambling. According to some social behavior analysts, todays’ teenage boys are more likely to become addicted to online gambling than to drugs.
Reasons for Virtual Addictions
There are several reasons why most teenagers are getting deeper into these virtual vices. The major reason is that these children still experience some of the traditional forms of teenage challenges such as bullying. However, unlike in the past, online gambling and online gaming provide a perfect defense mechanism. They help the teenager to escape their perceived harsh reality to their created virtual reality.
Additionally, the children have been modeled to using online escapism as a self-medicating method. Most parents also use the internet mostly when stressed at work or in their relationship. The children learn this subconsciously. Therefore, the teens engaging in the vice are expressing what they have learned.
Emotional Intelligence Remedy
Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify emotions in oneself and in others. After identifying the emotions one can be able to deal better with self and others. Therefore, for the parents and the teacher to succeed in helping their teens to get out of online gambling; they must help them to be emotionally intelligent.
This should involve getting down to the roots of the causes of online addiction. For example, if the cause is stress at school: the children should be empowered in various ways to express themselves. They could also be taught in ways to deal with stress.
The best way to teach emotional intelligence to the kids is to practice it as adults. As parents, when stressed at work, it would be more empowering for the children if the parents expressed their frustrations verbally. They could also request their teens to engage in a workout activity with them as they talk about the challenges in their lives. This would help the teens to subconsciously learn the skills to deal with the challenges in their lives constructively. It would also provide a chance for the teens to learn soft life skills.
The internet, online games, online gambling platforms and other online platforms are here to stay. Therefore, denying children access to the favorite computer gadgets is a short term solution to a deeper challenge. Teaching the children emotional intelligence will take time. However, it will be the only sure way to develop well-rounded teens ready for the challenges of real life.