Don’t Make It Your Child’s Alternative Baby Sitter!
Technology, in general, is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it makes communication, especially with loved ones who are situated far from us, easier and more convenient. A blessing because now, we can forego the need to go to libraries for certain researches. A blessing because with just a few clicks, we now have the ability to know what’s going on around the world anytime and anywhere.
Technological devices and the internet is just one awesome entertainment hub that most parents now see it as a good alternative baby sitter for their kids. With the access to just about any child-friendly movie or program and even games with a few taps of our fingers, many of us parents feel that we can forego the need to hire an actual baby sitter and just give the kids access to a smartphone or a tablet to amuse themselves and keep them out of trouble as we work nearby.
We tend to overlook the fact that these technological devices and advances have disadvantages, too, with the most obvious ones being 1) we put our children at risk to pedophiles who are prowling the net looking for unsuspecting innocent victims 2) we put them at risk to inappropriate videos or contents if we don’t supervise their internet use.
But aside from these very obvious reasons, here are 6 of the not-so-obvious whys and wherefores to limiting our kids’ internet and technology use.
1. It may have adverse effects on your child’s attention span.
Recently, an Iowa University student’s graduate study focused on the connection of a child’s attention problems to the number of hours he/she was allowed to watch TV or use the computer. The said research discovered that those kids whose computer and TV watching times exceed the screen time recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics had greater than average attention difficulties.
2. It causes your child to become anti-social.
When your kid gets too enamored with his/her handheld device, he/she may forego the joys of playing with actual toys and being with friends missing out on interpersonal connection as well as the opportunity to build up and experience creative play.
3. Too much screen time could cause speech delays in toddlers.
One 2017 research presented at this year’s Pediatrics Academic Societies Meeting found a strong connection between speech delay and long exposure to handheld devices among toddlers.
4. Handheld devices can also affect your little one’s sleeping habits.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics published a research on kids’ sleeping habits and found out that those who spent long hours using handheld devices had reduced nighttime sleep quality and suffered from excessive sleepiness during daytime.
5.Too much screen time can lead to poor eyesight.
Familiar with digital eyestrain? This condition develops during prolonged screen viewing time and is characterized by burning, itchy and tired eyes. These can lead to blurred vision, headaches as well as neck pains. Your kid may suffer from digital eyestrain if he/she spends too much time on his/her gadget or computer.
6. Kids used to using digital devices for long periods of time may develop behavioral problems.
Children who are used to using gadgets easily become listless, bored and uninterested with when they’re away from them. It also makes them used to “instant” results — playing with the games they like in an instant or watching a movie they want on the spot after a short search in the internet. This may condition your child with the mentality that he/she could get what he/she wants in an instant.
As parents, it is our responsibility to balance our kid’s technology use with the other things in life. This way, we can still teach them and let them value characteristics like hard work, patience and balance with that of our advancing world. Allow your child time out from his/her smartphone or tablet. Kids are only kids once. Let them have the full experience of being one.