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Is your child searching for happiness in the network?

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A recent NorthStar article featured a concern that there is a mental health risk accompanied with issuing kids smartphones as expressed by Australian child psychologist, Philip Tam, an expert on “internet gaming disorder.” According to the report, Tam explains that the constant feedback and interaction with apps, games and devices mimics the sensations associated with gambling, drug abuse and drinking alcohol.

And yet the trend is to place children in front of screens at very early ages.

The question this article raises is: in embracing technology, has the pendulum swung too far? Especially with young children who can easily be seduced into believing they will find happiness somewhere in the network with the swipe of a finger.

Marie Hall is a personal finance and business skills educator and executive director of BeMoneySmartUSA and Farmer’s Markets, a Carmichael non-profit youth financial literacy and employment development center. She is concerned that our children are not making the connection between their own happiness and their ability to give; to pay it forward and make a contribution simply to benefit others.

“Our children need to experience the joy of giving,” she said. “But they live in cyber-powered world where it can easily become all about ‘me’. When I talk about the principle of giving to my students, they question what it has to do with business, and that is the starting point of business. Our business success is defined by the nature of the relationships we forge.” She further explains that each person we encounter may be a potential employer, landlord, lender, or new client. “So it is always important to be the best version of yourself, which is generous and giving.

Hall has assigned her students a “pay it forward” project so they can experience how to express love, generosity and respect without expecting something in return. “That is the meaning of joyful giving,” she said.

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