One of the differences that have been noticed is the change in the way that children play and interact with each other from previous generations. To get the best of digital devices, parents have to consider putting limits on technology usage and being aware of the negative consequences of overuse, in order that both kids and adults can have peace of mind and get more from the use of technology.
A problem in the way that children live today is that they don’t get as much exercise as they used to. That is because technology encourages them to be inactive when they get home from school, as opposed to going outside and play with other kids. The more they use mobile devices, the less physical activities they do. So, child obesity rates have risen excessively over the past several decades. Many schools and parents tried to change this by promoting organized exercise both during and after school, but there is still a long way to go in helping kids playing in more “traditional” ways. Kids do not experience the benefits of spending time outdoors when they use technology for entertainment purposes. Outdoor free play has positive effects on the body. It provides you with exposure to sunlight that helps you keep your skin and the total immune system healthy and keep your sleep cycle regular. Nevertheless, screens from devices such as tablets and smartphones emit harmful blue light that can cause headaches, irritated eyes and sleep disorders for children.
Excessive exposure of children in technology has severe impacts on the way children, think and feel. Since technology is full of stimuli and usually requires to interact with many different things at once, children who play many video games or spend most of their time in front of the screen, tend to have less ability to focus than kids who use technology reasonably. Moreover, technology can also have an impact on the way children process information. When kids are exposed to high levels of technology, they tend to think through things only superficially and don’t develop the ability to think critically, creatively and use several ways of research in order to learn new concepts.
When children are exposed excessively to technology and they keep using mobile devices more and more, it changes the way they socialize and interact with others, which can have enormous impacts on their mental and emotional development. High levels of social media use, in both kids and adults, can decrease self-esteem and create a negative attitude. Nevertheless, excess use of technology can have a negative impact on children because it diminishes children’s frequency of interacting with other kids of the same age. This as a fact makes it difficult for children to understand social signs of communication and develop meaningful relationships with others, which has serious negative consequences as children grow and develop. However, children who use social media or stay online interacting with virtual friends, don’t have the chance to develop emotions the same way other kids do by having enough time being engaged with other people.
Of course, we cannot conclude that all technology has bad effect on children life or that children should never use technology. Technology has many positive impacts on learning, entertaining, and socializing, but it should be monitored and used appropriately.
Parents should create rules on how technology can be used by children and teens. Set daily limits for how long children can use technology each day. Talk with them about what seems reasonable or not about their well-being and keep their schedules and everyday routine in mind. Encourage your children to use technology purposefully. During their designated screen time, encourage your kids to pick a TV show they are really excited to watch or have them only use their social media when they want to send a message to friends. This will prevent mindless usage of technology that is problematic for many people. If your children oppose these rules, try explaining the negative effects that technology can have, trying to make clear that their good health and development is important.
Plan outdoor activities with your children or socialize with friends from school. Help your kids sign up for a sport or schedule a play date, or let them meet up with friends for an informal sports game. When parents show their support for these beneficial activities, kids feel more comfortable making them part of their routine.
It is important to set a good example as a parent. If your kids see you on your phone or computer constantly, they will also want to use technology all the time. Try to see you read books or create indoor family activities, and interact with screens after they’ve gone to bed.
Technology, when used correctly, can actually have a very positive effect on children development. We need to remember that technology is relatively new and long term studies for the effects on the development of children in the digital age are ongoing. Technology is not all bad. It just needs to be controlled.