We live in a tech-savvy age which can be both a blessing and a curse. Why a curse you ask?
Children are spending more and more time on smartphones and tablets which are being given to them for pacification. Unfortunately, this is not a good pattern as it can lead to severe addiction in your children. Technology has several advantages one of which is making our lives easier but on the other hand, it can make your children severely dependent on it changing their perceptions, behavior and the very way that they live.
So do your children deserve this kind of vice from such as young age?
Of course not and the best thing is that the development of this vice is largely in the parent’s hands and we’re not saying that you should completely cut your children off from using smartphones, tablets or computers but rather limit their screen time. Here 3 ways you can do that:
1. Screening Time as Per Age
Ages 4 to 6
Kids ages 4 to 6 should not be using smartphones or any other mobile devices for that matter.
Smartphone use at a very young age is harmful to developing young brains according to a study by Dr Cheng at the Ottawa Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario stating that your children become wired from an early age to crave easy dopamine. This constant overstimulation of your child’s brains due to screen exposure leads to addictive shots of dopamine. This also kills social skills as well as exposing them to inappropriate content.
Ages 7 to 9
Kids in this age group should not be allowed to use phones as they end up posting stuff online and their critical thinking skills don’t kick in till the age of 13. Many famous people prohibited their children from getting phones until they were well into their teens such as Steve Jobs of Apple and Bill Gates of Microsoft.
Ages 10 to 12
Kids this age should only be given phones that do not have internet and use these to mostly keep in contact with their parents. If they are given free access to their smartphones then the chances are that they can lead to an addiction of mobile gaming which will lead to your child getting hooked onto their phone from the time they get home to the time that they go to bed. This reduces actual social contact causing emotional damage which is linked to online social validation.
A survey in 2014 of 200 teenage children discovered that more than 80% were found to have tired, itchy or burning eyes after spending so much time staring at screens. You as parents should attempt to manage their phone usage while ensuring that your teen is not exposed to cyberbullying and allow them to develop their face-to-face relationships instead.
2.How to Limit It
Lead by example. Reduce your own phone usage and your children will model your practice
Speak to your children about the amount of time they spend on their smartphones/tablets
Have a fixed amount of time that your children are allowed to spend on their smartphones
Create screen-free zones in your home
Have parental controls in place
3.How to Control It
You can begin by simply saying no when your child asks for your smartphone. State it in a pleasant but assertive way.
If you do happen to give your child a phone then make sure that you limit their usage. Chalk out some terms and agree on them with your child before enforcing them.
You can also install a "sandbox" application when you leave your child alone with the phone if absolutely necessary.
Don’t fall into the trap of giving in to your child’s demands and set your children up for a successful and healthy relationship with technology which will benefit them for the rest for the rest of their lives.
Dev Bhatt is the head of digital marketing at OnlyMobiles. He is a tech enthusiast and loves to review and write about gadgets of all sorts - smartphones, tablets, or any electronics. He's impulsive to check out what's new in the market and share his findings with his readers so they can make informed decisions when buying electronic devices. In sync for this love for gadgets, he is also an avid a gamer who loves to travel.