Children & Technology

While most preschoolers don’t know how to tie their own shoelaces, isn’t it funny how they can understand & operate how to use the latest electronic gadget better than us adults can? We know that it’s essential for our kids to be able to navigate our wired world in order to excel at school and beyond, however, it’s hard not to be stunned by how technology seems to have taken over our lives.

Technology is everywhere. Just take a look around, I can bet you have many electronic devises surrounding you at this very moment. We can all admit that technology has brought many great things to us and for the most part, technology helps us do and get things quicker and easier. However, I think it is important for parents to know that there are some negative impacts from technology overuse too, having serious consequences into our children’s life. As parents, we have to consider its downsides and do our best to prevent them.

Here is three negative impacts of technology you should to pay attention to:

  1. Social Skills and Relationships – Children these days are not spending the amount of time that we all did growing up out riding bikes, and making mud pie creations in their back yards.  The new generation is growing up texting, playing online video games, chatting online on social media, and posting pictures on Snapchat and Instagram. It doesn’t mean that spending time online is a bad thing, but spending too much time online can really weaken the bond between parent and child, it also prevents the child from improving social skills with their peers.
  2. Heath Problems – The more children use electronic devices, the chances of it being harmful to their health increases. Children that have excessive game time, usually means they are also snacking more and most likely they spend more time on the couch. This also means they are spending less time outside playing and running. Over time, this can lead to weight gain and other health issues. Spending time outdoors has a huge number of positive effects on the body — it provides you with exposure to sunlight, which supplies your body with Vitamin D. This helps to fight infections and keep skin healthy. Additionally, regular exposure to sunlight helps to keep your sleep cycle regular by influencing the body’s production of melatonin. Recent research has also shown that screens from devices such as tablets and smart phones emit harmful blue light that can cause headaches, eye strain and irritated eyes for children. The eye strain and headaches is something my own son complains about.
  3. Mobile device overuse can interfere with sleep quality – I recently read a study that JAMA Pediatrics published that posed the big question: Is there an association between screen-based media device use in the sleep environment, and sleep quantity and quality? The answer is yes! Research found that there is a strong and consistent evidence of a link between mobile devices overuse and reduced sleep quality. This means our children are sleeping less than they should. A lack of sleep can have a serious consequence on our children’s brains. During sleep, our brains spend time doing important restoring tasks that will help them wake up refreshed and ready to thrive and learn.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is not all bad and we all know it provides tons of positive opportunities for learning, entertaining, and socializing, it just should be monitored and used appropriately. If you set daily limits for how long children can use technology each day, there really should be no negative effects. Maybe next time your preschooler asks to play on your phone or tablet, try to offer a good ol’ fashion coloring book and crayons or offer a note pad and pen for drawing, you may be surprised how much they love it and you will be doing them a favor!

– Cortney

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