The use of mobile phones and computers by children is one of the most sensitive matters that parents argue about. Of course, the Internet has greatly facilitated our daily lives. But now we feel helpless when the Internet goes down. And our children will feel it even more sharply since the Internet has a strong influence on them from an early age. If without using a mobile phone you cannot feed the baby normally or turn on cartoons on the tablet to keep him busy, you will do him more harm than you think. Keep reading to find how to reduce the use of gadgets by children.
Why is it important to reduce the time you use electronic devices for children?
The use of this essay writing service electronic devices and paper rewriter Melisa by children is a topic that worries many parents. And there are reasons for this. Of course, the child must know how to use electronic devices (and, if he knows this, for many parents this is cause for pride). However, you should not teach this child at an early age. At the age of 5-6 years, the child’s brain develops rapidly, and anyone and anything can influence it: people with whom he communicates, places which he visits, things surrounding him, etc. One can only imagine how it will develop a child if electronic devices repalce all social interactions for him.
Major problems caused by overuse of electronic devices
Let’s look at some of the main problems associated with the early use of electronic devices.
- Electronic devices may interfere with your baby’s sleep patterns.
The backlight of electronic devices simulates sunlight. Because of this, the child’s sleep and wake cycles are disrupted. This is due to the fact that the effect of blue light from the screens inhibits the production of the hormone melatonin in the body of the child, which is responsible for the sleeping schedule. The lower the level of melatonin, the more sleepy the child is during the day, especially if he uses a smartphone at night. It is not worth explaining how much sleep a growing body needs.
- Electronic devices can interfere with speech and concentration.
Experts have proven that the more children use electronic devices at an early age, the higher the likelihood that they will start talking later than their peers. If you increase the daily use of electronic devices by 30 minutes, this will increase the risk of delayed speech development by 49%.
Experts also note that in recent years there have been more frequent cases when children begin to speak too late or say too few words. This is probably also due to the fact that they spend too much time in front of the screens of electronic devices.
- Electronic devices cause behavior problems in the child.
Because children are very sensitive, excessive use of electronic devices can cause them aggression and bad behavior.
A recent study by Canadian psychologists found that children who use electronic devices for more than 30 minutes a day suffer from poor attention span and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. If the content that the children view at the same time does not correspond to their age, this can adversely affect their behavior and overall development.
- Electronic devices make children less physically active.
This item does not require a detailed explanation – this applies to both children and adults. Our generation in childhood played and talked with peers. Today, more and more young children spend their free time on the screens of smartphones.
Lack of physical activity and games can harm the fragile body of the child. He may become overweight or form an incorrect posture. To develop physically, children need to sit still and move more, and therefore electronic devices do them more bad than good.
What experts say
Kindergarten experts, psychologists, and kindergarten teachers are unanimous in their opinion that using electronic devices by children has more disadvantages than advantages. Today, many parents complain that their children cannot learn to write for a long time or even hold a pen or pencil in their hands. This is due to the fact that earlier, drawing was a popular activity for children, but today they play with mobile phones instead. As a result, their fine motor skills are poorly developed, and they can only press buttons or move their fingers left and right (as when using a smartphone). When children go to school, it is difficult for them to learn to write and develop beautiful handwriting.
The lack of social interaction due to the fact that children spend a lot of time on smartphones leads to hyperactivity, inattention, and depression in children. Such symptoms have recently become more frequent.
Experts question even educational applications for children. In their opinion, the knowledge and skills that children receive from mobile applications, they can get at a later age. In preschool age, children should develop through social interaction and play. And this cannot be replaced by digital technology. According to experts, both in the case of using the mobile application and during the game, children learn to follow the instructions. But, when the instruction comes from a person (peer or adult), it is more personalized.
Can children be addicted to electronic devices?
Studies in recent years have shown that the use of electronic devices leads to a sharp increase in the level of the hormone dopamine (better known as the “hormone of joy”). Therefore, the child seeks to use electronic devices even more. Similar behavior occurs in people in the case of sweets, social networks. The same mechanism leads to drug dependence.
What conclusion can be drawn from this? The more a child gets what he enjoys (whether it be a thing or intangible encouragement, such as praise that stimulates the pleasure center in his brain), the higher the level of dopamine in his body rises. This encourages him to strive even more for what brings him joy, in our case, to spend more time behind the screen of a smartphone.
But the child’s brain is still underdeveloped, and excess dopamine can put undue stress on the reward system in the brain. A child can look for any way to increase dopamine levels when they don’t get it in a natural way. And so one series of your favorite cartoon on a smartphone will not be enough for him.
How long can children use electronic devices?
Obviously, prolonged use of smartphones is harmful to young children. Pediatricians and child development experts recommend:
- do not give children under one and a half years old electronic devices;
- the child can only watch quality content that matches his age, together with his parents, only from the age of one and a half to two years;
- a child from two to five years old can be allowed to watch content corresponding to his age, no more than an hour a day.
You can also arrange once a week a “day without smartphones” during which the child will not use electronic devices. Come up with fun activities for the child that will distract him from the smartphone and give you the opportunity to chat. You might want to arrange “ smartphones free days” more often.
How to ensure that your child does not use electronic devices too much
The fact that electronic devices are addictive is not yet fully proven. But you don’t want your child to prove it, do you? One way or another, it will not be superfluous to check that the child uses electronic devices in moderation. If your child can no longer live a day without a smartphone or computer, take the following measures.
- Completely abandon electronic devices for a while.
A complete rejection of electronic devices is likely to last only a few days, but in the long run this can teach the child to use smartphones, computers, etc. moderately. However, do not present this as a punishment for the child. The gadgets by children should be aimed at ensuring that the child turns on his imagination and comes up with new ways to entertain himself. You can tell your child what to do: play something, draw, read a book, etc.
- Gradually wean the child from electronic devices.
If a sharp rejection of gadgets by children is too painful for the child, you can wean him gradually. Make sure that you strictly follow the rules of the child. If earlier the child was allowed to use the smartphone an hour a day, reduce the time to half an hour. Probably the child will beg you to give him some more time, but you should not give in.
- Do not use your smartphone to distract your child.
Many parents use a smartphone to switch the attention of the child when he does not obey or does not want to eat. But such behavior over time becomes a habit. And, if you do not give your child a smartphone, he again stops listening.
Set the phone aside and use other methods to entertain the child or switch his attention.
- Make sure your child consumes quality content.
It is impossible to protect a child from gadgets once and for all. But you can control what the child is watching. Make sure that he sees high-quality content on the TV and on the smartphone. Try to show the child the connection of what he saw with the real world.
- Keep your gadgets away from the bedroom.
In order to grow and develop normally, the child should have enough time to sleep. Stop using gadgets at least one hour before bedtime. Make sure there are no electronic devices in the child’s bedroom.
Do not keep gadgets in your bedroom. If you think that you can’t wake up in the morning on time without an alarm on your phone, it’s better to use an ordinary alarm clock.
- Set yourself a limit on the use of gadgets by children.
We all know very well that children learn from our example. A child may be confused if he sees that you forbid him to use electronic devices, but you use them yourself. Excessive enthusiasm for gadgets can affect you as well as children. (If you had to get a mobile phone out of your pocket to see the time, and after a second forget it – you understand what it is about).
Set a limit on a usage of gadgets by children. Use apps that will remind you when you reach the limit. You can also just put off your smartphone when you spend time with your child. Think about doing without gadgets one day a week. If you like this idea, you can make such gadgets by children free days more often.
- Exercise more often.
This should be done not only for the sake of your child but also for your own sake. Due to the tight work schedule, we often lead a sedentary lifestyle, which, in turn, affects our mental and physical health. If you exercise every day or at least do exercises, you set a good example for your child.
To accustom your child to an activity, walk with him in the park or on the playground. Invite him to play with other children. Let him play and have a good time without your intervention and constant instructions.
- Take care of yourself first.
You cannot correct any defects of your child unless you first correct them yourself. Parents, first of all, must cope with their own stress so as not to project it onto the child. If you see that a child’s attachment to gadgets by children leads to behavioral problems, consult a specialist.
If you use electronic devices correctly and in moderation, this can be beneficial. But if a child throws lessons and other important things for the sake of a computer or smartphone – be prepared for trouble.
Make sure that the child consumes only high-quality content. Also make sure that gadgets by children do not tear him from the real world, but rather develop qualities that will be useful to him in life. Finally, pay attention to what example you are setting for your child.