Use of technology is so much that it is hard to understand and at same time to be careful about its implications. Kids always think that electronic devices like smartphones, video games, tablets are fun toys. They love to use it for games, chatting, browsing or watching movies. In other words, digital devices have become an inseparable part of everyone’s life!
As parents and caregivers (including educators), it is important to make sure that these devices do good and not harm child’s growth.
According to Dr. Victoria Dunckley, M.D., Child Psychiatrist, too much screen time can interfere with child’s development by impairing brain function.
Based on her research with group of 500 children and adolescents Dr. Dunckley found that excessive screen time acts as a psychostimulant like caffeine, amphetamines, or cocaine. It acts on nervous system resulting in disturbance in sleep, focus, mood swing and reduces/restricted interests outside of the use of electronic gadgets.
While using the devices kids generally don’t pay attention to things like screen distance, brightness, posture which can adversely affect not only their vision but overall health too.
Here are several ways parents and care takers can work towards solving these issues:
- Make sure the content children access in mobile device is age appropriate. Understand what content is appropriate for which age group.
- Look for educational games and videos and APPs to help encourage creativity
- Make sure that children interact with peers and friends and not just stuck to mobile device. Mobile should not get in the way of eating or exercising or in studies
- Sometimes play games together and watch videos together.
- Communicate and get interactive with your children. Watch and discuss about kid’s movies and help them to understand importance of family time.
- Digital screen cause eye strain. Ask children to take regular break from device and tell them how important is the vision. Discourage use of gadgets in bright sunlight or in dark condition. Reason is screen brightness should not be three times darker or brighter than surroundings. Use auto brightness mode.
Have device free zones:
- Remove television from bedroom: Watching television more than an hour, not only increases obesity, screen time during sleeping hours shown to influence sleep patterns and increases behavioral problems.
- Say no to electronic items at dinner table: While eating using smart phones or video games makes children eat more calories and it will be difficult to communicate with children. Dinner time is family time and is the time to understand what is happening in school and daily life.
- Makes sure devices are off during family time. Put limitation on screen time. It should not exceed more than an hour daily. Using phones during family time can make a child more introvert.
- Set a playtime for child. Let it be old fashioned way. Play with your child and help them to understand the importance of physical exercise. Take them for outdoor sports. Leave electronics behind when go outdoors.
- Smartphone free zone: Before going to bed make sure child keeps smartphone away. Keeping phones close to body can only harm the child in various ways.
- Don’t use electronic devices as baby sitters – instead give children creative toys, coloring books or story books.
Take control today and help your kids to understand the importance of electronic gadgets limitations and why it is important to have “device free zone”
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: July 13, 2022