Today’s technology has enabled us to move further into the future. But however this has turned out as a blessing to the world, it has also become a curse – for me as a parent, that is. Even though smartphones have made it easier for my husband and me to communicate via Skype or Face Time, my child has slowly been pulled away from me because of this blessing. Gadgets have changed our lifestyle and have influenced us, including our children, and sometimes for the worse.
How Have These Gadgets Negatively Affected Children?
Family time has been tremendously reduced, that’s for sure (at least for me). I can’t even share 15 minutes of dinnertime with my 8-year-old without us having an argument because she’s watching something on YouTube while eating! It’s so distressing!
Furthermore, based on research, here are some of the most detrimental effects that gadgets can cause on children.
- Gadgets increase the likelihood of children becoming obese, as they don’t find playing outside more enjoyable than playing video games or watching vlogs. They have a higher risk of becoming lazy and useless.
- Because most things that watch contain some form of violence in the form of shouting, fighting, or throwing tantrums, children are likely to follow these and may manifest with violent behavior as well.
- There is less energy and focus on school matters.
- Too much screen time from television and phones have been found to cause lesser social interaction and may lead to reduced language development. It also causes reduced sleeping hours, as the blue light emitted by the screens somehow prevent the production of melanin, a vital hormone for sleeping.
So What Can I Do As A Parent?
“Balancing technology use with other aspects of daily life seems reasonable, but there is a lot of conflicting advice about where that balance should be.” Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D. in clinical psychology explains. So with that, here’s a collection of answers from parents who, like me, have struggled with their children and have successfully weaned them from their gadgets.
Do Your Job. No matter how rebellious or hostile your son or daughter becomes, you must fulfill your responsibility as a parent. Set rules and show your child that you want these rules to be followed, or else there will be consequences. If the rules aren’t followed, then implement the consequences. You must make hard decisions, as you know that they will be for the best. But whatever you do, make sure you provide an explanation for your child to better understand and take to heart what you are trying to teach him.
Do Other Activities With Him. Encourage your child to read by introducing him to popular books or those that you know will perk his interest. If he likes magic, buy him the Harry Potter Series. Play board games with him or do a sport together. Let him realize that there’s more to life than just sitting at home with a gadget.
Don’t Buy Him A Gadget Unless He Needs It. If you want him to be able to call you from school, you can buy an ordinary phone that can only do call and text. If he’s not yet in the appropriate age to learn via visual aids, then don’t buy him gadgets yet. Actually, don’t buy him a gadget just because the other kids have one. Buy one if it is only necessary. Note that “It has been found that prolonged and unmonitored technology usage can impact children on the cognitive, psychosocial, and psychological levels.” Jyothsna Bhat, PsyD said. Therefore, might as well consider it.
“There is also little doubt that all of the new technologies, led by the Internet, are shaping the way we think in ways obvious and subtle, deliberate and unintentional, and advantageous and detrimental.” Jim Taylor Ph.D. said. I know these tips are better said than done, but they’ve been tested and proven to work so I’ll definitely give them a try. It’s worth doing, and it’s worth the fight.