Technology has its advantages. Hands down, we cannot deny that inter-connectivity, communication and the general quality of modern life were further enhanced by the development of modern technology particularly the computer and mobile technology.
In the age of computer games, mobile phones, online social media and the information highway on the internet, families have now grown accustomed to enjoying the wonderful conveniences of technology. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops are now part of most of the family’s list of household necessities.
Gadget Addiction: Its Dangers and Risks
There is, however, a disturbing rise in the number of children who get addicted to their tablets that when you take the tablets out of their hands, you can expect a lot of anxiety and temper tantrums that stop only when you hand it back. Do you know that a rehabilitation center was set up in UK specializing in children who are addicted to their gadgets?
More and more parents use tablets and cellphones to entertain their child. Studies show that children nowadays turn to their gadgets (cellphone, PlayStation, PSPs, X-Box and the like) for social interaction, entertainment, and play.)
Compared to the older generation who generally spent time playing outdoors, children today are less inclined to play physical activities. Too much screen time and playing games on gadgets limit the child’s natural inclination to play outside with friends or spend time outdoors. They miss out on the benefits of nature and how it invigorates their growing body. Lack physical activities will lead to poor muscle tone, obesity, poor posture and diminished concentration in school work.
The lack of physical play with other children will have an impact on their social development. Children learn how to interact by playing with other kids. Before your child tells you the phone or tablet is her best friend, do her a favor – bring her outside with you and take time to play outdoors.
One of the biggest clinchers that enabled gadgets to effortlessly grab a child’s attention is the sounds and bright colors of online games. Some parents may have demonstrated a love for their own gadgets that made the kids want to play with their parents’ gadgets as well. Many of us are guilty of sharing the fun of online games with our children, for a lot of reasons. Somehow it’s quite wrong to use gadgets for the wrong reasons. They are made to entertain but these gadgets should not be used as pacifiers for restless kids all the time. These gadgets should be used with conscious awareness of what’s best for your child particularly in the early days of childhood. They are effective educational tools if used properly, but nothing beats a mother teaching her child how to read and write at an early age.
5 Things You Can Do to Minimize the Risks of Gadget Overuse
1. As much as possible, nip it in the bud- do not start them early on gadgets. Instead of giving gadgets instill in them a love for books and toys that they can manipulate with their bare hands. Electronic toys that move by themselves on a push-button mechanism teach one thing – the principles of cause and effect, and nothing more.
2. Toddlers and pre-schoolers love to follow routines and patterns set for them by parents or primary caregivers. Set a specific time for daily routine and follow regular bedtime. Children who lack sleep because of playing with gadgets even during bedtime were found to be restless the next day.
3. Engage your child into sports. This is a great way of enhancing their physical stamina and a surefire way of developing their social skills if they’re playing with a team.
4. Bring your child on nature trips and national parks. Nature and children are part of each other. Children should be out in the sun and running, sitting, playing in the park or simply enjoying the view of a road trip. They were not meant to be cooped up in the house with gadgets. Remember, aside from formal schooling, life experiences happen through play.
5. Do not place your computer or laptop in the bedroom. If you do, your kids will think of their online games in a room where they should’ve been sleeping.
While these gadgets contribute effectively as one of the learning tools for children, it is also highly addictive. Its interactive capability can give your child hours of fun but that should not be the case. Somehow you have to master the art of balance. Know when enough is enough, for your children’s sake.