Electronic devices and kids is of the most controversial and always relevant topic in the modern world. Some parents give their child a mobile phone and gadgets, as soon as he learns to sit, while others are very worried about the health of their child and struggle to limit the little one from these modern inventions. And there are parents who can use gadgets reasonably and teach their children to use them.
But first things first. Let’s discuss the positive and negative influence of electronic devices on kids when they use them during the period of an active development.
Advantages of gadgets
1. That’s the way to temporarily entertain a child when it is really necessary
Children can’t stand long waiting times in queues, a long journey, to stay calm in traffic jams. Toys, books, pens and an album can’t always be available, so gadgets come in handy here. A smartphone or tablet with cartoons, games and interesting apps will help to entertain the child within such weary minutes and hours of waiting.
2. Cognitive development and acquisition of new knowledge
Some computer games and apps really contribute to the development of kids’ attention, memory, logical thinking, they teach them to read, to count, to draw. There are also many cognitive cartoons in gadgets, which let children acquire new new knowledge about the world.
Disadvantages of gadgets
1. Tantrums and tears
“If these devices become the main tool to calm and distract young children, how will then children’s own internal mechanisms of self-control develop?” commented MD Boston University Jenny Redeski.
2. Sleep disturbance
Teenagers often communicate with each other during the evening and night hours neglecting their sleep. It is proven that the nervous system rests between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m.
3. One-sided developmental effect
Since we mentioned that gadgets contribute to kid’s development, it’ worth talking about the other side of the coin. It’s important that all channels of perception are involved in a young child whose creative thinking is just being formed and he actively explores the world of objects. To understand that a cube is square and a ball is round, it is not enough just to see an image, a child needs to touch and feel the edges of the cube, the roundness of the ball. As a result, a developing video has a one-sided effect: the child learns something but actually he can’t perceive the information deeply.
4. Reduction of creative activity
No any games and apps will ever replace a spontaneous creativity, manipulation real materials and colors. In real life, a child can fantasize. He glues, sculpts, carves, paints, combines, finds the most unexpected solutions. The virtual space deprives him of creativity because there his actions are restricted by the options provided by the program manufacturer.
5. Game and virtual communication addiction in kids is stronger than that in adults
“Technology attracts people for they can endlessly try something new in the virtual world. It is very difficult to give up using them because one can endlessly satisfy his desires,” says Dr. Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry and director of the UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior.
6. Poor school performance
Children become distracted, lose interest, their attention is reduced.
“These devices sometimes replace practical activities that develop sensorimotor and visual-motor skills so much important for learning,” says Dr. Jenny Redeski.
7. Low physical activity and health issues
While spending a long time playing games and communicating in the virtual world, a child does not move, doesn’t develop physically. And it happens that he is eating potato chips or candies at the same time that could lead to obesity, experts say.
8. Increased level of aggression
Children associate themselves with negative characters of the games and think that it’s cool to be bad and start behaving aggressively in real life.
9. Poor ability to communicate
Children can’t see an interlocutor’s reaction, his gaze, gestures, facial expressions, body language, don’t understand the consequences of their behavior and communication in the virtual world. They don’t know how to communicate in the real world and thus become withdrawn.
10. Possible development of mental illnesses
If children spend much time with gadgets, there’s a high risk of development of depression and anxiety in them, as well as lack of attachment to parents and siblings, attention deficit disorder, neuroses, psychoses, behavior problems.
Well, all these don’t mean that you should entirely protect your children from smartphones, tablets and computers and it’s impossible to do in the modern world, but ensure that you spend more time with the kids playing, communicating, walking thus developing their communication and interaction skills.