The children today are born in the era of modern technology. Instead of toys, they are exposed to smartphones, tablets, and other high-tech gadgets. In a Canadian survey, one in four children owns a mobile device. In the United States, 97% of children under four use mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.
Most parents use them for educational and entertainment purposes. The internet makes it accessible for children to download educational and gaming applications.
But parents cannot resist questioning: “Is technology healthy for my child?”
Mobile devices are meant to aid children in their learning. However, experts found out some negative impact of smartphones and other mobile devices on children.
It affects child-parent relationship
Parents are supposed to guide their children. During infancy, your child needs your voice and touch. You should be the first person to educate your children and guide them in their learning. However, some parents introduce gadgets to their child at an early age. This will prevent the child from developing a deeply personal relationship with their parents.
They may develop addiction
Do not wait for your children to become addicted to gadgets. According to multiple studies, technology is everyone’s first addiction. They become obsessed until they lose self-control. The UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior states that the use of smartphones and tablets do not teach children moderation and impulse-control, thus developing an addiction.
They may develop insomnia
The use of smartphones may contribute to sleep deprivation. According to Sleep.org, 71% of people, including children sleep with their smartphones and gadgets. These devices emit blue light that suppresses melatonin, the hormone that affects our circadian rhythm. According to Boston College, three-fourths of children aged 9 and 10 years old are sleep deprived, affecting their school performance.
It affects their learning
Contrary to educational purposes, a study suggests that smartphones are harmful to a child’s ability to learn. It decreases their concentration and attention. According to Boston University, the use of mobile devices replaces hands-on activities that are essential in the development of sensorimotor and visual-motor skills.
It can lead to obesity
When they become too attached to their gadgets, they will develop a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle has a lot of negative effects not just to children but also to adults. According to a study, 30% of children are obese because of a sedentary lifestyle. In Canada, the rate of overweight children has tripled for the last three decades.
It changes their behavior
Children with smartphones have easier access to any kind of content, including sex and violence. Their minds are vulnerable. They are at risk of imitating the actions and behaviors they see in the videos and games. As a matter of fact, one study suggests that technology is regarded as one of the top reasons why children today are becoming more aggressive. Furthermore, children are also at risk to cyberbullying which may cause them stress and depression.
As their parents, it is your primary responsibility to regulate their use of smartphones and other mobile devices to keep them physically, mentally, and socially healthy.