Can kids and gadgets coincide harmlessly or is it detrimental to their development? The verdict rests on the latter thought, yet many parents seem to be oblivious of the fact as they expose their kids to the harmful effects of electronic gadgets.
Why Are Kids Addicted to Electronic Gadgets
It comes as no surprise that kids and teens are addicted to gadgets and can’t spend an hour without these devices, let alone an entire day. For some kids, playing with electronic devices is not just a part of life, it’s the only thing in life. Of course, they have their parents to thank for that. Parents who seem to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the ill-effects of placing an electronic gadget in their child’s hand. If you’re the parent of a child below the age of 15 who has gadgets all over the place, you might want to take a look at how those gadgets are being used by your child. Here are a few reasons why children are addicted to electronic gadgets.
- When they’re young, you hand over your phone to them willingly, to keep them occupeid. This is how it starts.
- They want a mobile phone or a video game because their best friend has one. This is when it aggravates.
- Eventually physical plays become digital games where kids enjoy competing with one another online, be it in their snap streaks or candy crush.
- The way social media platforms are engineered, they’re addictive. Kids become more obsessed with what others have to say about them online.
10 Effects of Electronic Gadgets on Kids
It’s a fact that kids are more vulnerable to spending time on electronic gadgets than adults. Digital screens have a much greater impact on the overall development of your child than what meets the eye. Most of the ill-effects of electronic gadgets on kids are listen below.
1. Hampers Cognitive Development
Your baby’s brain develops at a rapid pace from the time they are born. Research has shown that overexposure to gadgets can result in slow cognitive development, attention deficit and even impaired hearing. So from the time they learn to utter their first few words, the only person reading, singing songs and nursery rhymes and talking to them should be you and not some fictitious character on the TV or that tablet.
2. Builds Obsession Leading to Agitation
What starts as a means to pacify them by giving your toddler a gadget to play with can soon turn into an obsession for them. This obsession can further lead to increased agitation and temper tantrums if parents take these gadgets away or refuse to give it to them. If you don’t want an agitated toddler, limit the extent of exposure to electronic gadgets before your toddler gets too attached to them.
3. Delayed Physical Development
Toddlers should be strolling around in their walkers or playing with blocks or other toys instead of being glued to the TV all the time. Lack of physical activity is bound to result in delayed physical development and even childhood obesity, which is alarmingly on an increase considering the amount of time children spend on gadgets.
4. Restrains Social Relationships
When kids and gadgets become inseparable, the attachment can stand in the way of your toddler bonding with family and friends of their age. Keep this up and your two-year could grow up to become a social recluse, without any normal friends outside his electronic world.
5. Increases Risk of Obesity
About one-third of the children in the US are obese, making child obesity a leading health concern for most parents. The American Academy of Paediatrics has estimated that the average child spends upwards of seven hours watching television, browsing the internet and playing video games each day. It’s evident enough that children spend a lump sum of their time gazing at some screen, instead of actively indulging in physical pay. Moreover, increased time spent in front of the television or computer leads to increased snacking and mindless eating. So if, instead of moving around, kids are stationary and mindlessly eating unhealthy snacks, the chances of child obesity get higher. This poses a risk to the child’s overall health.
6. Less Focus on Studies
The more gadgets kids use, the more addicted they get to them. Mothers all around the globe are worried about the time their children spend watching television and playing video games. These addictions work like most addictions, acting like a major motivator for the child, which is why the child finds it very difficult to focus on studies in the formative years. Increased screen time reduces the overall attention span of the child, making it hard for him to focus on studies.
7. Sense of Isolation
As increased screen time reduces the overall social time, it also subsequently increases the amount of time a child spends alone. When a child indulges into an electronic gadget, his entire focus vests in that gadget. Naturally he isn’t going to pay attention to the stuff that’s going around the place. When you agree on getting your child a new electronic gadget, you are unintentionally nurturing a socially isolated child. What should further increase your concern is that isolation can spoil your child’s personality.
8. Strain on the Eyes
Electronic devices are the main cause of eye problems in children. Overuse of gadgets results in drying up of the fluid in the eyes, causing multiple eye infections and affects the vision as well. The blue light emitted by sharp displays prevents the release of melatonin – an important sleep inducing harmone. This in turn, leads to sleep impairment in children.
- Too much contraction of eye muscles can make it difficult for them to relax easily, causing pseudo myopia.
- Parents are advised to keep their children away from gadgets and not hand it to them unless it’s really important.
- Watching the television from a distance is much safer than staring at a gadget kept very close to sight.
9. Triggers Neck & Back Pain
Lost in their electronic world, kids hardly realise their posture while using such gadgets. Constant engagement with gadgets causes back pain and other muscle related issues in children, without them even realising it. Poor sitting posture triggers neck pain which results in sore neck muscles. Neck and back aches at a young age are very harmful for kids, since they tend to affect the posture of the child for a lifetime, if not looked after on time!
10. Radiation Exposure
Kids love borrowing their parent’s smartphones, and moms and dads willingly had them over to the child. Little do you know that holding wireless gadgets too close to the body can increase your child’s radiation exposure. Wireless gadgets emit radiation, which is absorbed by the child’s body at a particular rate that is higher than that in adults. This radiation exposure can cause cancer and other health risks.
Prevention is better than cure as the saying goes. Limited use of any gadget is not harmful. Anyway, kids don’t need a gadget to keep them occupied when there is so much more that they can do at that age. After all, we all managed to grow up just fine without the world of technology encroaching upon our territory, didn’t we? So why expose your child to gadgets for entertainment? Allow them to grow up normally from dolls and building blocks to puzzles and tennis rackets . They’ll be glad you did!