The dependence of children on gadgets has acquired the features of an epidemic.
In the age of computer technology, the problem of children’s dependence on gadgets is becoming more acute than ever. Many, probably, have seen the picture more than once, when parents put a smartphone in their child in order to “get rid of” it. “Here you are, smart guy, cartoons, and leave your parents alone!” – it’s so familiar, isn’t it?
Children get used to it quickly. While the gadget is in the hands, they do not make a sound, but as soon as it is taken away, they immediately scream. And then parents wonder why it is impossible to find a common language with children and why they do not develop relationships in real life.
Communication skills are instilled in us from childhood. According to pediatricians, the age from 0 to 3 years is very important for the development of vision, the formation of the speech apparatus and the enrichment of the vocabulary of babies. It is especially important for children under 3 to talk as much as possible with their parents and peers, and not with their mother’s smartphone.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children aged 0–2 should not be exposed to electronic devices at all. And at the age of 3 to 5 years, they should use gadgets no more than one, from 6 to 18 years – two hours a day.
At the same time, statistics state that modern children spend on average several times more time in front of the screen, 6–7 (!) Hours a day. Most American children use mobile devices every day from the age of two, and from the age of 7-8 they already have constant access to the Internet.
Mobile devices have greatly increased the accessibility of modern technology to young children. Therefore, pediatrician Chris Rowan is pushing for a ban on the use of mobile electronic devices by children under the age of 12. Here are the top 10 reasons for this decision.
The more parents check email, scroll through the news feed, shoot monsters, and watch TV shows, the more they distance themselves from their children. The lack of adult attention is often compensated by the same gadgets and digital technologies. In some cases, the baby himself becomes dependent on portable devices, the Internet and television. Already, the dependence of children on gadgets has acquired the features of an epidemic. Every eleventh child aged 8-18 is a “digital addict”.
In 2011, the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the radio emission of cell phones and other wireless devices as a potential carcinogen, assigning them to group 2B (“possibly carcinogenic to humans” factors). However, it should be borne in mind that children are more sensitive to various negative impacts as their brains and immune systems are still developing.
Impact on brain development
An infant’s brain triples in size from birth to two years of age and continues to grow until the age of 21. Brain development at an early age is determined by environmental stimuli or lack of them. Stimulation of the brain by excessive exposure to gadgets, as studies show, is fraught with cognitive delays, increased impulsivity, reduced ability to self-regulate and self-discipline.
Sitting at a tablet or phone, which means a lack of movement, can lead to a delay in physical and mental development. This problem has become evident in the United States, where every third child enters school with a developmental delay, which is clearly reflected in his academic performance. Physical activity, in turn, improves attention and the ability to learn and learn new things. Scientists argue that the use of electronic technology harms the development of children and negatively affects their learning.
TV watching and computer games are examples of non-food habits that are directly linked to the obesity epidemic. Among children who use portable electronic devices uncontrollably and constantly, obesity is 30% more common. One in four young Canadians and one in three American teenagers are overweight, and 30% of them will be diagnosed with diabetes. obese are at higher risk of early stroke and heart attack, severely shortening their life expectancy. Scientists are ringing the bells, urging all parents to monitor the weight of their children, because the first generation of the 21st century has a high chance of dying before their parents.
US statistics show that 60% of parents do not control how closely their children are friends with all kinds of gadgets, and in three out of four families children are allowed to take electronic devices even with them to bed. The blue glow of the screens of phones, tablets and laptops prevents normal falling asleep, which leads to a reduction in rest time and lack of sleep. Scientists on harm to the body compare lack of sleep with malnutrition: both of them deplete the body, and, accordingly, have a negative effect on school success.
Internet addiction often leads to isolation and the development of phobias. This list can be safely supplemented with bipolar disorder, psychosis, behavioral disorders, autism and attachment disorder (that is, a violation of close emotional contact with parents). For information, one in six Canadian children has some kind of mental illness, which is often treated only with strong psychotropic drugs .
Violence on television and in computer games is reflected in real life. The child receives a ready-made scheme of behavior that he can implement in the reality around him. And many researchers come to the same conclusion: violence from the screen has both a short-term and long-term effect – aggression may not manifest itself immediately.
Scientific observations prove that the influence of gadgets on children aged 1-3 years leads to problems with concentration by the seventh year of life. Children who cannot concentrate simply lose the opportunity to learn and remember anything.
Detachment from reality
Excessive use of electronic technologies by children not only affects their psyche and ability to empathize, but also makes them more vulnerable to real life, which they, by and large, do not know. That is, time spent in the virtual world often does not teach them nothing useful, and knowledge of electronic devices does not ensure success in the future, because technology is constantly improving, and it will be increasingly difficult to keep up with them.
So what should parents do? Maybe just take away all the gadgets, the TV from the child and forbid access to the Internet? So it’s only worse. The child will be angry with his parents, and they will become enemies in his eyes.
Gadgets are a necessary part of modern life. You need to let your child learn how to use a smartphone, but not too early. You should not shove the phone into the hands of a one-year-old child just to divert his attention. At the age of one, a child can be shown so many interesting things in the world around us that are familiar to us, smartphones are not needed at all for this.
It’s not worth picking up a smartphone, but it’s still necessary to limit the time that a child spends at the screen. Pediatricians are advised to develop clear rules for using gadgets for the whole family.
For example, identify gadget-free spaces such as the kitchen, living room, or car. It is advisable to agree that there is no place for telephones at the dinner table.
It would be good to insist that the children do not watch anything for an hour before going to bed. To achieve a greater effect, you can show solidarity and impose restrictions on yourself (maybe this will be useful for parents?).
The current time of technology and the Internet takes a child a lot of time for things that do not develop him at all: social networks, endless cartoons and games.