The number of hours that children spend on their devices and technical gadgets has increased exponentially. This is causing a lot of parents to feel alarmed as there are several negative effects of technology on child development.
It Slows Down The Brain
Nowadays, children do not get enough exercise. They spend most of their time with their gadgets. This lack of exercise is extremely bad for their physical and mental health because it can slow down their development.
In addition to this, extreme use of technology may cause kids to become dyslexic which can cause their brains to not grasp things quickly enough.
Outdoor activities and more exercise are important in kids’ development stage as they can encourage positive behavior, enabling them to gain confidence.
It Increases Risk of Cancer
Cellular phones and computer screens emit radiation which can increase the risk of cancer, especially in young children. This is why even the American Society of Cancer also discourages the use of such devices.
It Delays Cognitive Development
The cognitive development of children between 2 to 3 years old can be adversely affected if they use devices for long periods of time. At this particular age, kids should learn and develop visual skills, spatial skills, and motor skills in order to lead a normal life. Such skills are developed by playing outside or by exercising.
It Causes Eye Strain
A lot of children face eye problems when they sit in front of a television or a laptop screen for hours on end. These devices emit radioactive rays that can be very harmful to the eyes of children because they are still developing.
In addition to this, eye strain can lead to eye fatigue, blurry vision, and focus issues, which can be very irritating and dangerous.
As stated by the U.S. Center for Disease and Prevention, children that spend 8 hours a day playing video games and watching television can experience vision problems. Children may develop nearsightedness when they spend too much time with gadgets and devices.
Normally, this is temporary because the eyes recover when they shift their attention to a non-screen activity.
It Leads to Bad Posture
Handheld devices like phones, tablets, and some laptops promote bad posture in children because of the way they spend time bent over their screens. Bad posture can cause misalignment and subluxation in the spinal cord, which can result in serious issues.
How To Protect Your Kids From The Negative Effects of Electronic Screens?
While harmful, your children can be protected with a little care by following these measures:
- Monitor Screen Time
Calculate the child’s screen time. Once you’ve done so, break it up throughout the day to avoid problems.
- Increase Outdoor Activities
Make sure that your child knows what he’s missing out if he chooses to stay inside and watch his favorite cartoons. Encourage him to go the park and play with his friends or chase the dog around the garden.
If necessary, put up a swing set, sandbox or swimming pool so that the child can enjoy himself during outdoor activities. This way, he’ll be able to spend a little more time physically exercising both his mind and body.
- Don’t Distract Your Children with Electronics
Usually, if parents are busy, they’ll just hand the child a gadget to play with. Instead of doing that, get the child crayons and coloring books, action figures, puzzle cubes, and creative toys.
- Monitor Sleep Cycles
A child’s mind is very active and needs around 10 hours of sleep daily. This puts the child’s cognitive abilities to rest and reduces the strain he’s had during the day. Make sure that your child gets enough sleep to function well the next day.
- Exercise Eyes on a Regular Basis
Teach your child self-care. Tell them to take blink breaks when their eyes ache as this will reduce the strain and ease any pain. Doctors recommend the 20-20-20 rule.
Make sure your child takes a twenty-minute break to focus on something twenty feet away for a period of twenty seconds.
- Make sure that the child sits at a specific distance
During any gadget interaction, make sure that your children are at least 20 inches away from the electronic screen. Even if your child is watching television, keep the screen at a distance. If the child prefers getting close to the screen, consult an eye doctor.
- Device usage in the dark and sunlight isn’t recommended
Most gadgets these days come with built-in auto brightness settings. This feature adjusts the device’s brightness according to the surrounding light. Using electronic gadgets in the dark and in a lot of light can cause strain on the child’s eyes.
It is always wise to take all the necessary precautions beforehand. So, make sure that you follow all of these measures to ensure your child’s safety in the long run. Remember, too much exposure to electronic devices can seriously damage children’s health and development.
Although technology provides the entertainment and technology kids need, there are many other ways to keep them entertained. You can encourage them to try outdoor sports and games with other kids, which can be very healthy and enjoyable at the same time.