During the early years of life, a child goes through basic developmental phases. He grows physically and emotionally, learns new behaviour, learns to communicate and socialize. First five years of life are considered critical in a child’s psychological and psychosocial growth. A child does what he sees in his surroundings, this is the time when environment determines his personality. In recent years, children are widely influenced by electronic gadgets. Since, use of mobile phone, iPads, laptops and TV have become very frequent it has equally effected every segment of society and people of all ages. These modern gadgets have proved beneficial in helping children enhance their speaking, listening and creative thinking skills, but as a general observation, they have done more harm than good.
According to research, children who excessively use these gadgets are prone to have major personality disorders and delayed developmental milestones. Anxiety, depression, ADHD and memory loss are some of the prevailing issues associated with excessive usage of gadgets in children under the age of 5. TV, Tablet and mobile are members of same family of electronic gadgets, but still they have some distinctive features which help us find out which one of them is more harmful for kids.
Television is relatively considered outdated as modern gadgets have taken over its place, but still it has its own importance in every household. Every living room is incomplete without a Television though it has assumed modern forms such as wall mounted LEDs. When we talk in terms of pros and cons TV can be said as a safer option as it gives us an option to control the channels where we can set the channels of our own choice for the kids. We can select a few educational and entertainment based channel while locking the undesired channels. Also, bigger screen helps us to watch our favourite shows from a distance and it is safe for the eyes.
Modern technology has now turned a TV into a smart TV which enables the children to play video games or even watch anything of their choice on YouTube. Despite the fact that TV can be a better option still it has adverse effects. As it is said that excess of anything is bad, so is in the case of TV. Watching TV for more than a specific period of time leads to major health problems in children. It can cause them to become physically inactive and anti-social. To avoid negative effects of Television it is important to limit the usage of TV and setting a proper screen time for kids.
Tablet is just like mobile phones and it can do almost everything that a mobile phone does, except for making a call, but as the social media websites are becoming popular it has now become possible to make calls through these social media sites on a tablet. It has a bigger screen and used for playing games by kids. Just like TV it has its own good and bad effects. It helps the parents to watch on the activities of their children, as it allows the parents to have a parental control by linking it with the parent’s phone or laptop.
But it still has more harmful effects as it gives the children access to everything they want to watch without any filter and children can even become addicted to it. This addiction is a cause of disturbed mental health in children making them aggressive and impatient.
Mobile phone is the most used device by everyone irrespective of age and gender. It has become impossible to survive without a mobile phone. Every other company is in competition to make an advanced version of mobile phones. Children have undoubtedly become addicted to mobile phones. For last few years, specifically during the COVID 19 the usage of mobile phone became more common than ever before. The system of online and distant learning replaced the books with a mobile phone. Mobile phones have indeed made so many things easier for us, but it has caused some irreversible damage to children of this age. Kids these days use mobile phones without any time limit.
Watching screen for too long puts strain on eyes which has resulted in visual disturbances in children. Too much use of mobile phone also effects the cognitive and higher mental functions of the children which affects their intelligence and concentration. Not just the mental health, but the physical health is also affected by the overuse of mobile phones. Children have developed bad posture and musculoskeletal disorders such as forward head posture, muscle spasm in the muscles of neck and upper back etc.
Another major harmful effect of mobile usage is disturbed sleep patterns. Researches have proven that radiations from mobile phones interfere with the release of sleep hormone, melatonin and results in insomnia or bad sleep pattern in children. This could possibly cause anxiety and frustration and sometimes laziness and lack of interest among children.
Which device is more harmful?
If we conduct a comparison of harmful effects of these three devices, then probably we would infer that mobile phone has proven to be the most harmful of all three. But this is not an absolute answer. To decide which device is causing more harm we need to know which device is used in excess. Nothing is good or bad in itself, but how we use it decides its benefits or harmful effects. It is not the mobile phone that is causing the problem, but its overuse is making it harmful.
How to avoid the negative effects of gadgets in kids?
To ensure the safety of your kid’s mental, physical, social and emotional well being it is important to follow a few tips.
- Set the screen time limit, do not let the children become addicted to the screen either its TV or mobile phone, it should be used in a safe limit.
- Give your children due attention and make time for them. Do not make them feel neglected, this can cause them to develop inferiority complex or insecurities which will effect their mental health.
- Make learning a fun for the kids. Help them learn new things by organizing games for them, play with them and don’t force them to learn anything in fact make learning fun for them this will keep them away from electronic gadgets thus limiting their screen time.
- Get the kids involved in physical activities such as out door sports or some fun exercises. This would keep them busy and fit so they will not look for the phone or TV for fun.
- Communicate with your kids and take them out with you to help them learn socializing. Too much usage of mobile can make them introverts and socially apprehensive. Talk to them regularly about daily activities to help them overcome their social fear.
- Do not restrict them completely from using a phone or a tablet or watching TV. Let them learn through watching educational shows. Help them maintain a routine with a limited screen time.
Children are the most valuable assets. They should be taken care of at all cost. Protecting them from detrimental effects of technology has become a difficult task, but this is what parenting is all about. Taking care of children during early years of life will help them in developing a strong character for the rest of their lives. So make these years the most valuable for them.