Children who have experienced child abuse or neglect are more likely to develop serious mental illness such as psychoses and bipolar disorder. [. . .]
Children who have experienced child abuse or neglect are more likely to develop serious mental illness such as psychoses and bipolar disorder. [. . .]
The studies made on athletic and non/athletic people, have consistently demonstrated that physically active people remain healthier and are able to perform better on tests of cerebral or intellectual ability. Some studies even indicate that the results are sharp and immediate – even a quick 5-minute walk can yield immediate results. Most studies show that […]
There are instances when you genuinely want to help a person improve or give suggestions for his/her betterment while there are also times when you simply need to evaluate a person’s performance in an organizational set-up. However, very often you find that, instead of being taken in a positive light your feedback is either ignored altogether or not well received, making the target person rather angry or defensive. This could be because you have not yet realized that giving constructive feedback is an art which needs to be mastered.
Feedback forms an important part of communication process and serves to convey how a person is functioning or how his or her behavior is affecting us and others around him or her. This feedback can be positive or negative.
Positive feedback is generally used to point out to the person, what he/she has been doing right and encourage the person to continue with the behavior. Whereas, negative feedback is used to point out the shortcomings and bring about an improvement in that person’s behavior. Positive feedback is much easier to give, as it is readily accepted by the receiver; however, giving negative feedback requires special skills, so that the receiver doesn’t get defensive and remains open to your criticism or suggestions. Negative feedback should be helpful and so, merely pointing out the faults should not be the sole purpose of this feedback. We must bear in mind that the purpose of this feedback is much more crucial, that is, to help the receiver be better than before and make him/her work on his/her shortcomings. Therefore, we choose the word constructive feedback.
Having the ability to give constructive feedback can help managers enhance their team performance or can help teachers mold the behavior of their students. This skill can also come in handy in personal relationships where you want your spouse, children, friend, or loved ones, to correct a few things in order to be a better version of themselves. After all, we all have some weaknesses and shortcomings, and constructive feedback, if given carefully, can be of great help in overcoming those. Following are some tips to make your feedback more constructive, helpful and receiver-friendly:
1. Descriptive: Try to make your feedback as descriptive as possible. It should also be clear and specific about the behavior you want to encourage or change. Saying “you are not doing well” is not enough. It is too vague and leaves the person wondering about what needs to be done. Therefore, describe completely what the concerned person should do or improved.
2. Appropriate time: Make sure you give your feedback at the earliest and at the most appropriate time. If you take too long to give your feedback, you may forget about the specifics of the situation and behavior and it is likely that the receiver too does not remember the situation. Moreover, taking too long to give feedback may give a wrong impression to the receiver that what he or she has been doing is acceptable, and then, when you finally give your feedback, he or she may not be as open to it.
3. Constructive ideas: Especially when feedback is negative, it is important to include constructive ideas about how to improve. Offer assistance in the process of improvement and betterment. Saying “your performance was terrible” connotes that the person already knows for sure what went wrong and how to correct it, whereas in reality, this might not be the case. Hence, for a constructive feedback, it is important that the person giving the feedback must also help the receiver in finding the solution.
4. Consistency: Be consistent with giving constructive feedback. Especially in the professional world, consistency in giving feedback has been found to be much more effective and credible. Make it a part of your regular interaction with your juniors and co-workers for maximum impact.
5. Don’t get personal: While giving negative feedback, never get personal and do not target the person. Rather, focus on the behavior or action that needs to be changed. Never criticize the person or make personal attacks. For example, while judging your friend’s singing skills, commenting upon his pitch, notes and song choice etc, can help him improve his performance as a singer, but telling that he has a bad voice quality is something that is not much helpful because, he can’t change his voice. Here, the former makes your criticism constructive, while the latter may just hurt the person and make him feel bad.
6. Never demean: Never use negative feedback as a tool to demean the other person. Never bring your personal agenda to the equation and refrain from using negative feedback as a means to make the other person feel inferior or to take revenge.
7. Positive feedback: Don’t use feedback for pointing out only the faults or shortcomings of a person. Instead focus on giving positive feedback as well. Point out the strengths of the person and appreciate his or her positives as well. Some people think that feedback is just to point out the negatives, but the fact is that a balanced feedback that focuses on positives as well as on negatives is much more readily accepted and considered credible.
8. Purpose: Never forget that the purpose of a feedback is to bring change and improvement and not to hurt the feelings of the person.
9. Listen: While giving your feedback, make sure you give the person a chance to respond too. Do listen to his or her viewpoint and interpretations patiently, and give them a chance to defend their view.
More and more children these days are battling digital addiction. They are being exposed to electronic devices at much younger ages, and we often watch them spending hours gazing at cell-phone/tablet or computer screens. According to experts, digital addiction is as potent as meth and can have alarming effects on children. It is extremely important to apply moderation, when it comes to screens or screen-time and we as parents must teach our children how to use them in a healthy way.
According to Dr Dimitri A. Christakis, Director, Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, children use the devices along a continuum which ranges from healthy to compulsive to addictive. “I think the phenomenon of tech addiction is quite real,” he said.
In the commentary published in JAMA, Dr Christakis suggested that the relationship between media exposure and health in adolescents might turn out to follow an “inverted U” pattern. Thus, very high exposure and very low exposure might both be associated with poorer mental health outcomes than moderate amounts of usage.
However, though technology-use is as powerful as drugs, it is not analogous to drug use at all because these devices serve important purposes in our lives, including children’s. We as well as children need technology to do the day-to-day chores and stay connected but it is pertinent, given its adverse effects, to find healthy ways to use it adequately before its takes over.
Dr Ellen Selkie, an assistant professor of adolescent medicine at the University of Michigan, who does research on adolescents’ use of social media, said, “It’s like food, it’s something we all need because of the way businesses run, because of the job market—and for teens it’s the way they socialize.”
According to Dr Selkie, there is evidence that supports limitations on the absolute amount of screen time with younger children but the situation is more complicated, with older children. This is because, it is not that simple to make out whether a teen who is always on the phone, is there due to addiction or because that is where his friends are. It is normal for a teen to always want to be talking to his or her friends rather than the family.
However, just like other aspects of life that contribute to our overall well-being, it requires daily decisions on the user’s part to keep his or her technology-usage within healthy limits. Saying that one should altogether bring it down to zero is neither sensible nor acceptable given the benefits technology provides; however, we can certainly curb before we become its slaves instead of masters.
Dr Jenny Radesky, an assistant professor of developmental behavioral pediatrics at the University of Michigan and an expert on technology use by children, equates technology to “an environment.” It is a place where all sorts of activities take place, from work to entertainment to social life. However, she cautions that it is a deliberately designed and engineered environment, with an ultimate goal of making money. “Modern technologies is purposefully habit-forming and programmed with the sort of variable rewards that keep humans engaged.” she adds. It is important to not fall prey to it because it can potentially impact our healthiness in a negative way.
Dr Radesky also emphasizes that rather than the concerned individual, or the so-called addict, the problem lies with the digital environment which is shaping the individual’s behavior, often through methods that are intentionally exploitative or subconscious.
Therefore, it is essential for children to understand the way technology works for or against them. Parents can play a significant role in imparting and demystifying information and making their children more digitally literate.
While researchers often talk about the difficulty they experience in trying to understand and quantify children’s use of devices, Dr Christakis in his commentary, points out how while the required information is routinely—and efficiently—gathered by the industry and applied to increase the charm of the devices and the programs, people in academia and research are struggling to get the data needed to put together coherent and extensive guidelines for parents and policymakers. Dr Christakis, thus, suggests that an increased cooperation between industry and researchers might help in setting up those guidelines.
According to Dr Selkie, there are ways for tech companies and even game designers to be more thoughtful about children and to discourage problematic internet use.
In the meanwhile, parents should do their part and start with asking their children to put down their cell-phones while dinner or on family outings and gradually proceed to setting limits on per day screen-time. Parents themselves should also be mindful of their own use of devices and set good examples for their children.
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Addiction to smartphones or computers to communicate, get information, for entertainment, or to complete day-to-day chores is quite common. After all, resorting to digital-era technology is not only the swiftest way to all sort of information at just a touch of a button but also the easiest way to get all sorts of things done—from paying bills to ordering stuff online and to what not. Although our reliance on phones and computers is growing day-by-day, it is, at the same time, worrying to see children as young as three, playing games and watching videos on phones for hours. The fact that too much of screen time is detrimental to a child’s growing brain cannot be overstated.
Too much of screen time also interferes with child’s performance at school. It has been reported that Children who use smartphones at an early age have difficulty socializing and have delayed communication. Those who are in school and spend too much time on these gadgets have also been found to spend less time in playing outside and are also at greater risk of cyber-bullying. However, in today’s time, it is not that easy and simple for parents to restrain their kids from using phones and other such devices since everyone around them is using phones, tablets, or computers and sometimes children need information as well from the web to complete their school projects. In fact, teachers too these days, communicate through whatsapp rather than providing the information in students’ diary, which makes avoiding smartphones all the more difficult.
Research has shown that addiction to technology can be as severe as any other addictions. And so parents are often confronted with the question as to what should be the right age to introduce their kids to these gadgets. Well the answer to this question is not that straight or simple as every child has his or her maturity level. Yet, it can be said that the later the better; the more you can delay the better it is. At least wait until your child is in eighth grade or middle school. Even then you need to first set some rules regarding the use. You can also start by buying your child a basic phone rather than a smartphone.
We sometimes see parents giving their 2- or 3-year-old kids phones while eating out, or while parents are watching movies in the hall, their reasoning being that the kid would get distracted and wouldn’t disturb or that the kid throws tantrum to get the phone. Well, this is a completely wrong logic; You don’t give your child matchsticks, knife, or scissors to play with, when he or she throws a tantrum for it, then why giving in when your child demands your phone. May be some parents don’t really understand the dangers of using cell phones at such an early age or perhaps sometimes they are simply too tired to attend to their child. In such cases, giving their phone seems right to them and more like a convenient option. But they don’t actually realize that this comes under irresponsible parenting. Parents need to understand that the earlier the child starts using phones and other such devices, the higher the possibility of getting addicted to these devices in later ages. Besides, too much screen time is one of the leading causes of illnesses related to sedentary lifestyle. Obesity among young kids has been found to be because they don’t include enough physical activities in their routine or because they eat while watching TV or videos on phone or while playing video games.
Here’s how you can help your child get rid of or prevent his or her digital addiction:
1. Set family rules: Before you introduce your kids to devices like smartphones, tablets, or laptops, set some rules regarding the use of such devices. Set screen time in advance. Tell your children beforehand the purpose for which they can use these devices, and under what conditions they can lose access to them. These rules will be more effective if you involve your child too in the process.
2. Start with the basics: If your child demands a phone because all his/her friends have one, then you can start with basic phone models that can be used for communication purpose. Instead of smartphone, get him a simple basic mobile phone. Alternatively, you can lend your phone to help your child exchange messages between or make a call to his or her friend.
3. Don’t substitute toys with smartphones: These days children start using digital devices at a very early age, all because their parents use these devices as substitutes to toys. Remember, use of such devices is as harmful to a 2-3 year old as it is to older children. Never make it a habit to use smartphone as pacifier for your children. Instead carry their favorite toy along and let them play with it.
4. Encourage outdoor activities: One of the major drawbacks of using such devices is that children start spending less time in outdoor activities and become glued to these devices. A healthy and effective way to avoid this is by scheduling a regular outdoor activity as part of the child’s daily routine. It would be much better if you too take part in such activities.
5. Set an example: Remember! children see what their parents do. So you too need to set an example for your child. If you tell your children to stop spending too much time on phones, or tablets, while you yourself are busy on the phone all the time, they are most likely not going to listen to you. Therefore, if you want your children to follow screen time rules, you need to follow them yourself as well.
6. Set family values: You need to discuss with your children the place these devices have in your family’s value system. Since there will come a time when your child might tell you that all his or her friends have smartphones and that their parents don’t restrict them from using these devices. At such instances, your family values will help you and your child deal with these pressures to conform to the society.
7. Give them desktop: There comes a time when your child actually needs access to internet in order to complete his or her school projects and other such activities. Besides, one cannot deny the fact that internet is the quickest way to get access to knowledge and information. Therefore, if you truly feel that your child needs access to internet, give them a desktop instead of smartphone. Desktops have been found to be less addictive since they require sitting at the same place. An added benefit is that parental monitoring is much easier on desktop.
8. Communicate: It is really important that your children understand that the rules are imposed not to keep them from progressing further, but for their own good. Communicate to your children why you don’t want to encourage device usage; especially when other parents have already started giving their children smartphones or other such devices. Your children must understand that you are not against technology, but you are also aware of the dangers of technology usage and technology addiction. Getting this message across is very important and it will also help your children understand your point of view. Your children will understand that your rules are not just mindless authority assertion but rather a carefully designed system to keep them safe and healthy.
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We all were probably taught to never lie but there would be rarely anyone who can truthfully claim that he or she doesn’t lie or hasn’t lied in life, ever. Depending upon the demands of the situation, we might tell a lie for harmless reasons like to avoid awkward situations, protect others, or avoid hurting others’ feelings, or, for some other reasons that are much serious and can potentially wreak havoc on our lives. However, there are some people who lie out of habit. And, the more they lie, the easier and more frequent this behaviour becomes. Scientists have now discovered why liars lie.
Psychologists believe that children start lying at the age of two. Since lying involves paying attention to the environment, complex planning, and the ability to manipulate a situation, it is actually considered a crucial milestone in children’s development. While growing up, they keep on learning how to use this skill for their own benefit, and by the time they reach adulthood, their lies become much more clever, harder to catch, and easier to get away with.
Cognitive neuroscientist Joshua Greene from Harvard University investigated the physical process of lying during an experiment. Participants were given the opportunity to win money by lying. While some of them still stuck to being honest and told the truth, others resorted to deception. The MRI of the participants was performed to examine their brain activity during the study. The MRI reports revealed that there was an increased activity in the frontal parietal control network of the group of liars because deciding between honesty and lying requires hard and intricate thinking. Since the neural reward centers of the participants who won money by telling lies were more active, it can be assumed that lying may be a result of the inability to resist temptation.
However, there is still no scientific explanation as to why people tend to avoid lying and whether it is a result of conflict in their brains or an understanding of morality and self-control, or simply following the social norm. According to Dan Ariely, a behavioral psychologist at Duke, “We are our own judge about our own honesty. And that internal judge is what differentiates psychopaths and non-psychopaths.”
Apparently, despite that the urge to lie comes from within, external factors can influence the frequency too. Research has shown that people tend to be dishonest when they are suffering from stress or lack of sleep, or when they see others lying. “We as a society need to understand that when we don’t punish lying, we increase the probability it will happen again,” Ariely added.
Ariely and his colleagues conducted a study to show the change in participants’ brain while they are being dishonest. The study revealed that there was an increased activity in their amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for producing fear, anxiety and emotions. This change made lying or being dishonest easier for those participants. The signals from the amygdala reduced when they expected no consequences for being dishonest, such as when playing a game. Cognitive neuroscientist at University College London, Tali Sharot, who led the research said, “If you give people multiple opportunities to lie for their own benefit, they start with little lies and get bigger and bigger over time.”