It cannot be denied that technology has become like a compact pocket-sized babysitter, as much as we know in the back of our heads that kids really should be more active or getting some fresh air, rather than playing Angry Birds.
Well, best to obey your conscience – research shows that the excessive use of handheld devices is not having the best long-term effects. A recent article in the Huffington Post points out 10 reasons to remove or limit the use of technology by young kids:
An infant’s brain triples in size between the age of 0 and 2 years. An overexposure to technologies at this age has been associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and less ability to self-regulate.
Using technology usually means less movement. This can result in delayed physical development, which also has an impact on literacy and academic achievement.
Statistics show that more TV and video game use correlates with increased obesity, which also brings with it the further risks of diabetes, early stroke and heart attack.
Too often, parents don’t regulate their child’s use of technology, especially in their bedrooms late at night. A lack of sleep can impact negatively on school grades as well as physical health.
Studies show that technology overuse has been identified as a causal factor in rising rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis and problematic child behaviour. Scary!
Lots of media use means that kids are likely to stumble across violent content. The things they see can normalise aggressive behaviour, and therefore also leads more children to exhibit it.
High speed media content, instant results and continuous updates can contribute to problems in paying attention and decreased concentration – making it a lot harder for kids to learn.
According to the article, one in 11 children aged 8-18 are addicted to technology. This is partly due to the fact that they attach to technology as they find it hard to attach to their parents, who are often distracted with their own attachments to technology.
Technological devices emit radiation, which children are more sensitive to as their minds and bodies are in important stages of development.
Children are our future – but really, how good is our future looking with all of the problems listed above?
All of this is not to say that technology is bad, as that would be untrue. It is however, like anything else, best used in moderation and best used appropriately (dependent on age group and necessity).