Technology has become so synonymous to all our lives today that we have even crossed that stage when we discussed whether it is a boon or bane. However, when it comes to our children, it is probably worth thinking a bit deeper and seeing if it’s affecting their development and behavior.
Children born today are technology savvy almost right at birth. Kids as young as 18 to 24 months use mobiles and tabs with great ease. Though they learn a couple of things there too but overuse of it can lead to some behavioral issues like Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Restlessness and Aggression.
Researchers have found that the negative impacts of gadgets and electronic media outweigh the positive. Some of the significant impacts of gadgets on children’s brain development and behavior are as follows:
- Not good for the brain: Overexposure to gadgets has been linked to Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), cognitive delays and impaired learning.
- Language delay for toddlers: According to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), severe language delay is seen in children who are overexposed to gadgets.
- Less active play equals delayed development: Kids under the age of 12 spend more time in front of a screen rather than playing outdoors. This restriction in movement results in delayed motor development.
- Not good for bedtime: The late-night glow of laptops and mobile phones are depriving children a good night sleep.
- Not good for school: Being sleep-deprived doesn’t only affect child development but also their performance in school.
- Terrible child aggression: A study by the National Institutes of Health found that the increase in use of modern technology can break the old boundaries of family, values, behavior and children’s well-being.
- Kids suffer mental illness: A study of more than 1,000 children between the ages of 10 and 11, found that children who spend longer than two hours in front of a screen or another entertainment medium are more likely to suffer psychological difficulties.
- Gadgets cause tantrums: Kids throw tantrums because they get over attached to gadgets and can’t emotionally handle themselves when these devices are taken away from them.
As parents, you can practice a few things to prevent your kid from being enslaved to technology. Here are a few tips:
- De-addict yourself: Kids always grow on the model of imitation. When they see their parents glued to their mobiles, they also develop a strong desire to explore the same. Limiting the use of mobile and tab in front of kids can go a long way in dissuading away from them.
- Sing, act, dance: Bond with your child by singing those rhymes that he enjoys watching on the tab. Sing those rhymes, stand up and act and dance.
- Read books together: Invest in some interesting story books with big and colorful pictures. Not only would it help develop reading habit in the kid, will build his language skills and cognitive development as well.
- Play interactive games: Encourage him/her for interactive and outdoor games that would lead to his/her social and physical evelopment.
- Restricted screen time: If you are busy with some house or office work and want to seek refuge in the digital medium to engage your toddler, allow access only for a limited time period.
Last but not the least, don’t worry about keeping your child away from gadgets until he/she is five. It will not make your child any less gadget-savvy when he/she grows up. It will still come naturally to this generation as they are born after the advent of gadgets.