Technology has bestowed us with several options for our entertainment. A few years ago we could not have thought of communicating with people across seas and oceans so easily and inexpensively. Cellular phones were unimaginably costly but today the option of wireless networks are countless. Technology connects people to people, people to places and it connects people to the virtual world that does not really exist but is extremely pervasive in our society today, especially in the social setup where people love connecting with the virtual world more than real human beings. Why is that? Technology can’t hurt us, if something bothers us we can always turn our laptop off. If we lose a game more than three times we can switch it off. What happens when someone hurts us? We cannot shut them off easily. This has led people to spend more and more time on the internet where they are less vulnerable. Unfortunately this is the trend we have communicated to our children; that technology is the answer to everything! We as parents have so much to deal with, that just sitting down with them to color or play a board game is too time consuming. Sometimes we get so tired that we like spending time by ourselves on the internet or watching a movie on television and we don’t see anything wrong with that. Here are 15 reasons why indulging our children in technology is killing them and why everything is wrong with that!
15. Children need to experience the complexities of relationships
Gone are the days when children were allowed to play in the neighborhood with other children, fight, laugh and make compromises to fit into social groups. Today children are either on their tablet or PS3 playing games and losing touch with the real world. There is so much that a child can learn through simple interactions, so many emotions to deal with which is not possible if they are alone playing their tablet or PS3 games. One of the reasons why many children grow up to be more and more anti-social is because they have not been given the opportunity to explore relationships enough.
14. Radio frequencies…. a big reason to worry!
Technology is pacing and so is its usage. According to statistics about 56% of children between the age of 10 and 13 own a smartphone and even more shocking is that 25 % of children between the ages of 2 and 5 have their own smartphones. It is no surprise that while children in the olden days played with the children across the lane, they are now caught up with playing their favorite games on their iPad or watching videos on their phones in the confines of their homes. Even though radiation frequencies from smartphones may be a reason for parents to worry, this has not yet been proven. However it is believed that the frontal and temporal lobes of a child’s brain can be affected by radio frequencies interfering with a child’s advanced cognitive development. (Williams, n.d.)
13. Children lose sight of their priorities
When we allow children to spend extended time on the internet, it is common for them to lose sight of their priorities. Most children who are addicted to the internet won’t tell you if they are hungry, or won’t respond when being called to do a task, and some will even hold off on going to the bathroom in order to watch an extra video. When a child can barely stop watching their favorite TV shows or YouTube videos to pay attention to someone talking to them this is showing disrespect. This kind of behavior, if left unchecked, can create a lot of behavioral issues in children as they grow older. The first 10 years is the most crucial phase for shaping a child’s character. After that, they cease to respond to correction well, so check them while there is still time!
12. Boredom is not always bad!
Do your children say they are bored frequently when they are not allowed to watch their favorite cartoon or play a game on their iPad? The problem with filling up all your child’s spare time with activities is that they never learn to deal with doing nothing, says child psychologist, Lyn Fry, from London. Dr. Teresa Belton states that boredom in children allows development of internal stimulus that paves the way to creativity. This is not a new phenomenon, in fact, in 1993, psychoanalyst Adam Philips said “the capacity to be bored can be a developmental achievement for the child.” Boredom helps children to examine their lives in ways they would not have, had they not been given the time to be bored in the first place. Technology teaches them to take their mind off their current problems, which is denying reality; the problem never goes away, it lingers on and is never dealt with. (Goldhill, 2016)
11. Losing Bonding time???
Technology has almost stifled our time with family. Gone are the days when children would play with other children or sometimes just get bored doing nothing. Lying down and looking into space and falling asleep had its own magical impact on the well being of a child. This does not happen anymore. Today’s children want to keep going without a pause, and guess what? We as parents are doing the very same thing, we are running, we want to catch up with the pacing world. How about just pause today, put that phone down, set that laptop aside, pull your child away from that addictive game and engage with him. Discuss some important life issues, talk about things that may be bothering them or just play a board game? Bonding time is very important for the emotional growth of a child; take time to pause today!
10. Communication… The oxygen of every relationship!
Have you ever found yourself telling your son to pick up the mess he made while he walks away throwing a tantrum? You may storm back at him and warn him about his behavior, but it may little effect on him. When was the last time you stopped to think about what was going on in your child’s mind? When was the last time you told him that you really love him and that you want to know what he thinks about something? If you haven’t done that, start today! Take at least a half hour every now and then to talk to your child about his school, his friends, his best friend or someone who he may not like. Ask him why he doesn’t like something and channel his thoughts and values in the right direction. Communication is the very breath of relationships; without it, they don’t survive long. The chord of love, don’t break I pray, for the heart of a wounded child falls prey..
9. Is your child ready for that information?
The internet is loaded with information, some good and some bad, some inappropriate. However, it is difficult to know the kind of information your child is accessing without adequate supervision. There is a plenty of adult content with casual language that children can begin to use, which you may not like hearing. It is important to be present and conscious of what your child is looking up. It is always good to keep an eye on them and ensure that they are not watching videos that are extremely violent in nature or things that are emotionally charged.
When your child starts to throw tantrums for taking away his internet time, you know they are addicted to the videos or games they have been watching or playing. Have you ever noticed your child feeling emotional or cranky when they are not on their phones or laptops? That is the effect of the virtual world. These media always displays a world full of action and entertainment, but life is not always action packed. So, when your children experience boredom they get depressed. The best way to deal with their addiction is to get them to see life for what is really is. It is important to let them know that life is not always going to entertain them and sometimes it is normal to not do anything at all. It is important to nip this in the bud or your child may develop addictive behavior which can only get worse in adulthood and lead to other addiction problems.
7. Inactive Lifestyle
Obesity among children in the United States is a major concern that parents have today. According to an estimate derived by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is believed that an average child in America watches television for seven straight hours a day. This type of sedentary life is the cause of obesity among children. Increased exposure to technology cuts down on physical activity time which is essential for healthy growth in children. Children are also frequently seen snacking while watching their favorite shows. And while they must be encouraged to play with other children, unfortunately most of the time they will by play video games with their friends instead of doing a physical activity. Physical activity enables more blood flow to the brain. The blood carries oxygen and glucose to the brain resulting in increased concentration and alertness. So moving is not only important for their bodies but for their minds as well.
6. Its all about me!
Technology spells out SELF in almost every aspect of life. Why do we spend time on the internet? Because WE want some time to relax. Why do we spend extended time on games instead of interacting with the family? Because it pleases US. If you notice carefully, technology is all about pleasing ourselves at the cost of sacrificing important relationships. This very same attitude is carried out into every aspect of children’s lives. When given a choice they want the better tee shirt, or the bigger burger.
5. Failed Social Skills
Stepping out of their homes to meet other children is an effort. It requires learning patience, it requires lending a toy that is dear to them or sharing that chocolate chip cookie they love so much. Playing with friends helps children deal with failure, deal with the fact that there are children who are smarter or faster than they are and still feel worthwhile, and manage their anger when they get upset. These are essential social skills that are very important for any child to possess to have healthy and normal social; skills that the internet cannot teach them.
4. Porn Spam
In the recent times, YouTube has emerged as an alternative to watching cartoon shows on television and an average of 428 million children watch YouTube channels such as Little Baby Bum. (Dredge, 2015). There are a number of educational videos like Steve and Maggie, WOW English TV and Blippi that really help children to learn a great deal. However, the danger of giving children access to YouTube is that there are a number of porn videos that are easily accessed. Your child could eventually find them without your knowledge, and before you know it, they are hooked on them even before they understand the meaning of sex.
3. Trouble Concentrating?
According to a study done on the harmful effects of increased internet exposure on education in Iowa State University, children who watch TV or who are on the internet above the recommended daily time of two hours have 1.5- 2 times more trouble focusing in the classroom than those who don’t. The Canadian Pediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend parents limit their children’s screen time from 1-2 hours regularly in order to make them more effective and efficient in school. (Ubelacker, 2012). Even though there is no set time for screen time, a reference point helps to create a daily routine and set expectations.
2. Lack of empathy
Increased time with technology has limited social interactions in most societies. More often we are busy expressing ourselves on social media and empathizing with people on social networking sites, not realizing that the same situations in our own life have not been able to evoke the same empathy from us. Why is that? The internet has exposed people to graphics and images that have desensitized how people feel towards them, says Dr. Gary Small, professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, who has conducted research on the impact of technology on the human brain. Children play gruesome games where the victim is stabbed way after it is dead, evidently capturing the hardheartedness of the children. People have become more expressive in the way they exhibit anger or frustrations than they previously did in the traditional form of face-to-face communications. What seemed outrageous to express openly before has become normal today as a result of social networking sites. And unfortunately, children are exposed to such brutality at a tender age.
1. Behavioral issues
Not happy with how your child is acting? Check out what he is watching, because what he is watching is what he is feeling. Many children play gruesome games on the internet and it makes one wonder why they find entertainment in those game? They often have bloodshed, killing and worse, these videos exhibit a culture of power play. The most powerful always wins! It is mindboggling to think if this is the kind of message we allow our children to receive from the internet? In conclusion, technology is not totally bad and has a world of goodness in it. The intent of this article is to make parents aware of the possible affects technology is having on their children. If you are seeing any of the problems listed here, it might be time to start addressing these issues today. Don’t brush it aside thinking it’s not so serious. There are some baby steps parents can take to start undoing the damage that’s already done. It’s not too late. Here are three ways you can start limiting your child’s time on the internet:
- Instead of telling them not to watch the internet, start finding activities like going out for dinner, or a late night ice cream outing with them. Engage them in conversations to understand their heart better. Restricting them may cause them to rebel and we want to help them and not harm them.
- You cant go eating out daily, so the moment you think your child has exceeded the recommended time on the internet, give them a shout out. Ask them to help you make their favorite snack, or play a game with them.
- Take them to play their favorite sport, or swim. It gives them time to think, analyse and give them some free time.
Any effort you put into your children will reap tremendous benefits in the future. Ultimately it is about building a healthy world of people and the future of our society is in the hands of our children. So start the journey today. Hashtag #iamsteppingouttoday and let us use the power of technology in the right manner today! Good luck!