BY Ritu Shah
14 Oct 2022
Technology is no longer restricted to the adult domain but has deeply penetrated the kids’ world. You can find a kid expertly handling a smartphone, tablet, or even complex video games.
During covid lockdowns, these gadgets provided the only means to connect the students with teachers. While it is nearly impossible to keep children away from the touch of technology, you should carefully monitor their usage and needs.
Positive Impact of Using Tech Gadgets
- The educational content on electronic media platforms involves teaching with colourful images, catchy sounds, and repetition of ideas to make the child memorize unknowingly.
- Many interactive games induce creative thinking, vocabulary building, and much more among kids.
- A smartphone opens a world of opportunities for the child and adults alike. Parental monitoring and correct content viewing help the child assimilate technology positively and evolve his cognitive abilities and interaction with his environment.
- Being tech-savvy will prepare the children better when they grow up and are part of the predominantly digital workforce.
Negative Impact of Using Tech Gadgets
- Excessive indulgence in mobile phones, tablets, or TV can adversely affect a kid’s mental and physical health. According to a research study, excessive screen time can also lead to developmental delays in children.
- The gadgets are addictive and may result in a lack of adequate outdoor and physical activities.
- Absent-minded over-eating while being glued to the screen may lead to obesity. A child can also lose appetite due to addiction and become malnourished.
- Children who are addicted to gadgets tend to display aggressiveness.
- Over-exposure to the screen may lead to poor eyesight, itchiness in the eyes, eye fatigue, and focus issues.
- Handheld devices promote poor posture, which can cause spinal issues and pains. Tweens and teens are more susceptible to these problems.
- Tech overuse can impair the social skills of the child.
The Correct Age to Introduce Tech Gadgets to Kids
Have you noticed a bawling kid becoming quiet when handed a smartphone? Nowadays, tech gadgets have become quick relief tools to restore peace in the house.
However, it is better to delay handing tabs and mobiles to kids for as long as possible.
But as the online learning modes are catching on in the post-covid scenario, it often becomes necessary to introduce your kid to the techno world.
The preschool age of three or more might be the correct age to hand your kid a mobile.
Brain, motor skills, and language development are vital during the first three years. This phase is crucial emotionally and socially too. A young child must experience outdoor and tangible playthings with other children.
Exploring the surroundings will help them develop creativity and understanding. An attachment to the screen will prevent them from gaining real-world experience and making friends.
The Recommended Screen Time for Kids
The Indian Academy of Pediatrics recommends screen time as per the age of the child. The Screen Time and Digital Wellness guidelines have the following limits:
- Children below 2 years of age should be kept away from the screen.
- Children aged 2-5 years are to have screen time limited to a maxim of one hour per day.
- Children aged 5-10 years should be exposed to less than two hours per day,
However, a balance between outdoor play, book reading, face-to-face interactions, and screen time needs to be there.
Factors to Keep in Mind When Your Kids are Using Tech Gadgets
- Exercise Parental Supervision - Watching over your children is crucial as it will keep them away from harmful or adult content. You should put parental controls on the apps, programs, and games that they are exposed to. Wherever possible, put kid-appropriate filters on the content they are consuming.
- Spend Personal Time - Children vie for their parent's attention which is necessary for their personality development. Be involved with them as much as you can. Keep meals device-free as much as possible. This will promote a stress-free environment.
- Avoid Watching Screens Before Bedtime- This is vital to have a healthy sleep pattern and schedule.
- Encourage Your Kids to Play Outdoors - Children need to communicate with friends. Regular outdoor activities will provide the much-needed physical development, social skill-building, and a break from digital media usage.
- Hobby Development - Encourage them to spend time building their hobbies or doing any creative work.
- Keep Devices Out of Easy Reach - Children tend to reach out for gadgets when bored. Instead, keep things like puzzles, comic books, board games, and building games handy.
- Adults Should Curtail Excessive Tech Use - Excessive use of gadgets is detrimental for everybody. Moreover, a child will emulate you or other adults. So keep away from the gadgets when not needed.
- Don't Be Excessively Strict - Set the usage within reasonable limits, but not entirely off-limits. It is fine if your child exceeds the allowed time once in a while.
To conclude, balance is the key. You can't deprive the child of the benefits of technology due to a fear that he may be led astray by it. Then again, real-time experiences, physical activity, and social interaction are vital. Along with these, proper monitoring of the content and screen time will do a world of benefit to the child.