Parents often allow their young children to use electronic gadgets such as tablets and smartphones at a young age. Exposing kids to these devices, however, comes with dangerous risks.
Adults may give young kids electronic devices as a medium for the young minds to learn. In a study conducted in Singapore, for instance, researchers found that half of the children they surveyed use gadgets to play educational games such as those that teach them to spell.
Unfortunately, few parents supervise their kids in how they use gadgets and many do not have clear rules on how much computer time to give their children.
Researchers said this is dangerous because children can develop poor sitting postures and develop eye problems when they stare at electronic screens for too long. Children may also skip meals so they can finish the games that they are playing.
Spending a lot of time with gadgets also come with social and emotional risks. Children may have difficulty socializing with their peers or develop negative behaviors such as being violent.
With the growing popularity of shooting games in young players, some researchers fear that children who play them are likely to develop aggressive thoughts and behavior as well as angry feelings.
“To put the association between screen violence and real-world aggression in perspective, it is greater than the association between secondhand smoke exposure and lung cancer,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in a statement stressing a strong link between behavioral problems in kids and exposure to screen violence.
For parents who want to give children alternatives to using gadgets, or if they notice that their children have become too addicted to electronic devices they throw tantrums when gadgets are taken away from them, here are some suggestions that can help limit the time that kids spend staring on electronic screens:
Buy your kids real toys and learning materials. Instead of letting young ones explore the abacus using an app, or play with virtual characters using the computer, buy the real thing and let them play and learn using real abacus, maps, dolls and toys.
Let them read from a paper book. The interactive reading app that your child uses may be nice and fun but reading from a paper book is similarly as fun plus traditional books boost children’s ability to imagine the things that they read.
Get them to play outside. Let your kids explore the outdoors. You may also urge them to join sporting events where they get to meet other kids and play team sports such as basketball.
Teach them skills. Who knows? You might have a kid who will grow up a great painter, an avid cook, or a talented writer.