Get your kids off the Internet and save their innocence
CHILDREN are losing their innocence at a much younger age through exposure to the internet, warns author, Arne Rubinstein, and parents need to help them switch off.
Dr Rubinstein, from Mullumbimby, has been working with children and teens for more than two decades - as a GP and through his work with the Australian Rites of Passage Institute - and he has just launched his first book, The Making of Men: Raising boys to be happy, healthy and successful.
Dr Rubinstein's book explains the risks teenagers face today, including drugs, alcohol, technology and peer pressure and shows parents how to equip their sons to make safe and sensible choices.
The book, with a foreword by well-known parenting author Steve Biddulph, has struck a chord with parents, jumping to number one position in the Apple iBookstore Parenting category for the e-book version, while the self-published soft cover has already sold a first print-run of 3500 books.
Dr Rubinstein said he believed the book's popularity reflected an "enormous desire of parents to do the best they can for their boys" and was a book of hope, giving practical tools and guides for parents to navigate the tumultuous transition from boy to man.
"When I was a GP in the early 1990s I would see these fabulous young boys, full of optimism and creativity, turn into troubled teenagers going off the rails. Too many of them," he said.
Dr Rubinstein started researching and running mentorship programs to help parents and boys through this transition period, and says our boys face even more pressure than ever.
"The big change I have seen over the years is the internet has become a massive part of young people's lives, and while it can have incredibly positive effects, it can lead to teens becoming techno-slaves.
"Instead of interacting with life, they are interacting with technology," he said.
Computer time can become as addictive as drugs or alcohol for young people if boundaries are not established early in parenting, Dr Rubinstein said.
Parents need to understand these new challenges their teenagers face as well as realise their relationship with their boys must change as they become young men.
"We tend to do really well when our kids are younger, but as they transition into adulthood we need to shift into a mentoring role," Dr Rubinstein said.
"Finding a shared activity you both enjoy allows the space for a conversation to start."