It’s no breaking news that our world is overrun by technology. You’re probably reading this on a smartphone, tablet, computer, or any other tech device that has access to the internet.
Yes, I know that technology has brought countless great things! Most of the time, it helps us accomplish tasks quicker and easier, entertains us, brings us closer to people miles away, and makes distance learning possible. We could go on all day talking about the amazing stuff technology provides, but today we’re here to show you the negative effects it can have on our children’s life – after all, they are also in this world, surrounded by technology and using it, at home, at school, and everywhere!
So, to help you out, we sorted out the top four negative impacts of technology on children that every parent should pay attention to:
1 – Harms the Attention Span
The first thing we need to consider is that a child’s brain, especially in early childhood (age 0 to 6), is still developing. It means that everything they experience at their early age, deeply affects their future. You can think of it as a wall being built brick by brick, and the bricks we put first are the base of our wall. The same thing happens to children – their first experiences are the base of their development.
So, when we talk about kids often exposed to technology at high rates, their brains may adapt to frequent visual stimulation, rapid change, and little need for imagination. Because of that, they are not going to be able to concentrate and focus for a long time in other activities, as they are used to everything popping at a screen, all the time.
To construct a healthy attention span, parents must remember that balance is everything. A child needs to play, explore, and exercise all senses, in the real world.
2 – Health Concerns
If a kid spends most of the time on a device, this means that its active indoor or outdoor playtime has been replaced by a sedentary activity. Too much time spent using technology means too much time spent sitting, and less time outside playing, running, and burning calories. Also, activities like playing online and watching television are usually combined with snacking, meaning you’ll be disrupting a balanced diet that kids must have. Over time, a child with those habits can present significant weight gain, and in severe cases, lead to childhood obesity.
Lastly, technology overuse can also impact children’s vision. Recent research has shown that screens from devices such as tablets and smartphones emit harmful blue light. The extensive viewing of a screen can lead to eye discomfort, fatigue, blurred vision, headaches, and dry eyes.
3 – Reduces Sleep Quality
Did you know that children under the age of 13 typically require 11-14 hours of sleep, depending on their age? Well, now you do!
Sleep is one of the most important things for children’s health. It promotes growth, affects weight, increases attention span, helps the heart’s development, and even boosts their learning. There are three main ways technology can stop your kids’ good rest:
The blue light we’ve mentioned before, emitted by our devices’ screens, blocks the production of a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin controls our natural sleep/wake cycle. At night, as it gets dark, our melatonin levels are supposed to rise before we go to sleep. So, overusing technology, especially before bedtime, makes falling asleep much more difficult.
Keeps Their Brain Alert
Using technology keeps our brain alert. So, if kids are surfing on the web, watching TV, or playing video games late at night, their brains will keep active and make them feel like they need to stay awake, even if they’re tired.
Wakes Them up
And last but not least, phones and other devices can disturb sleep with their chimes and buzzing. So, if your kids sleep with electronics in their bedrooms, they can be easily woken up.
After these arguments, I think we can all agree that the best you can do for your child is to break the technology bedtime habit, right? Keep tech out of the bedroom!
4 – Web Browsing Can Be Dangerous
We often face some harmful stuff on the internet, such as viruses, phishing, and other bad things disguised as advertising. When you’re an adult, it’s easier to recognize and avoid them. But have you ever thought about kids? They can go online and search for literally everything, with a simple click, without their parents even noticing.
But with appropriate monitoring, your children can have fun and be safe, all at the same time! For that, try searching for internet filtering tools to keep them away from dangerous websites and select the contents you consider to be safe for their access.
I know it is convenient to keep our children entertained using devices such as tablets, television, smartphones, and computers while we do our everyday tasks. And that’s totally okay, as long as we do not abuse, and manage the use of media by our little ones.
But hey, don’t panic! Nobody is saying you should totally banish technology from your kid’s life! This article was made to show you some possible (and very common) bad consequences of technology overuse on kids, these days.
Limiting your child’s time on screen is a great way to start preventing all those bad things we listed above. Also, always remember: children see, children do. Parents’ habits towards anything will always help to shape their kids, as they learn by watching us. The best we can do is talk to them, explain ourselves, and try our best to give them a good example. Hope we’ve helped you. Thanks for reading!