Growing up, most people didn’t have cell phones, if you are going somewhere you need to stop and ask for direction but today with instant touch, a GPS get us where we wanted to go without getting lost ‘’WAW’’
We had no small laptops or iPads or “apps” or smart phones or Facebook to stay connected, look up information, design things or find instruction videos. Watching a movie meant physically going to a movie house or going to a movie store to rent a movie! However just like everybody else accessing information and using some of this technology has made communication much quicker and easier but what about the effect of the pervasive use of this technology on the healthy development of the young child, beginning as young as 1-2 years old.
Growing up in the 80s we learnt from our environment, things around us helped to shape our behaviour which made a lot us street smart, we could not speak all the grammar but we made up with common sense.
The 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the percentage of 8- to 18-year-olds with their own cell phones grew from 39 percent to 66 percent. Modern women with little children I see in stores, restaurants, and other public places keep their children occupied with iPhones or iPads.
It is so sad that even when the child is out in his/her family house or compound they climb the tree house instead of enjoying his/her surroundings and using their imagination they are occupied with cellphones!
Health care professionals, occupational therapists, physical therapists and educators are witnessing a lot of dysfunctional interactions and doing research to concertize the correlation between the increase in physical and emotional deficits being diagnosed in young children and the high use of phones, iPads and computers. occupational therapist and social language therapy are on the rise. A behaviorist Jeanine Fitzgerald shared these alarming facts
Computer screen lighting causes eye strain. 20 minutes of exposure to a computer changes the chemistry of the brain so it releases cortisol, which causes lethargy and irritability.
High computer use, because of its passivity, is displacing experiences in healthy social interaction (giving eye contact and ability to hold a live social conversation), important sensory experiences, and physical movement necessary for muscle development that ensures healthy full brain development.
If young children don’t get a multitude of real learning experiences in nature, creativity and free movement, then when faced with a challenge they will only use the emotional sensational brain without also engaging the logical thinking and self-regulation (when to act and when not to) resulting in emotional meltdowns (I’m sure you’ve witnessed or experienced these and thought that it meant a spoiled child?).
In Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s winter newsletter,” It describes the negative effects of too much time spent using media has on young children’s development and offers suggestions to parents for how to establish a healthier balance. You can read the full article on www.harvardpilgrim.org..
Media is not going away; it’s only going to get faster and better. The future generations will need to know how to use it. And as with everything, “quality and quantity matter.” We need to define what a healthy media diet is for the young child 0-6 years old and understand that it should look different from the media diet acceptable for an older child or a young adult
Boon and the Bane of mobile phones on your child.
Communication Convenience: It is because of mobile phones; communication has become convenient for all of us. This technology helps parents to keep a better track of their children via GPS, social media, WhatsApp whenever they are away from home.
Entertainment: it provides access to different entertainment platforms and helps in fostering stronger family bonds.
Virtual learning: This technology has made virtual learning possible. Students can get access to different learning platforms just by sitting in their homes. This is convenient for both children and parents.
Access to information: With mobile phones and internet, it is possible to gain access to a lot of information. This really helps a parent and the child in keeping themselves updated about the historical, recent and current affairs.
Phone Obsession: Excessive and uncontrolled usage of mobile phones can trap a child and hinder his/her performance. This can also make a child socially cut and he/ she might start behaving inappropriately in the society.
Hinder academic performance: Study shows that if a child is engrossed in his/her phone for more than 8 hours a day, then his/ her academic performances is at stake.
Prone to cyber-attacks: in Today’s world, cyber-crimes have reached its brim. Excessive use of technology might push a child into a cyber-trap. This can cause a mental and emotional imbalance which can interfere with a child’s usual behavior. Remember the south African boy who committed suicide after watching a particular app.
Health hazards: Spending too much time on phones, not only affects the eyesight but its radiation severely affects the brain as well.
From the above article, one can derive that it is always appreciated to make a smart use of this device in order to take maximum advantage. As a parent, it is your responsibility to expose your child to the technology in a healthy and safer manner.