What are the Effects of Gadgets for Children?Thursday, 1 March 2018
Gadget in the development of children nowadays is like a two edged knife. Its presence can bring a lot of advantages and can also bring a negative effect to a child. How much is gadget needed in a child’s life? What are the side effects? When is the right time to introduce children to the digital world? Should a rule be made in the usage of gadget by a child? Psychologist and child development expert state that there is no universal age for a child to be ready to use a smartphone. Pamela Rutledge, psychologist and the director of Media Psychology Research Centre (MPRC) in United States, said that introducing children to the mobile technology in a young age will give them a strong base in the developing digital world. But parents also have to accompany their children according to their emotional and physical maturity. The American Academy of Paediatrics and The Canadian Society of Paediatrics state that children below 2 years old are better to be without gadget. The usage of gadget 4-5 times a day can have a serious effect, for example:
- Developmental Delay Technology in a gadget restrict child’s motoric movement. According to Cris Rowan, expert in occupational therapy from British Columbia University in his article titled “The impact of Technology on Child Sensory and Motor Development”, giving technology to child under 12 years old will cause disadvantage in child’s development and learning ability.
- Obesity Technology in a gadget restrict child’s motoric activity. A child will prefer to spend a long time in front of the screen than doing meaningful physical activity and breaking a sweat, this can risk the child to have obesity.
- Radiation exposure WHO classified hand phone as a 2b risk (may be a carcinogen or triggering cancer) Imagine, What if the child plays with gadget for long hours everyday?
- Dependency Most children, if they are already introduced to gadget, can’t turn away or distance themselves from it. Surely, this can have a dependency effect.
- Digital Dementia A child who use gadget will have difficulty to focus on anything else, so this can affect their concentration in studying
- Aggressive Based on research by Craig Anderson, which titled “Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy”, in 2007, a child who use gadget, especially who like to play video game full of violence, is prone to have aggressiveness in sexuality and criminality.
- For children below 18 months old, are not allowed to use gadget of any kind, except video chatting. If you want to introduce your child at the age of 18-24 months on a digital media, then choose a high quality program. Accompany your child when using it.
- For children with the age of 2-5 years old, limit gadget usage to only 1 hour a day, and only for a high quality program. Parents have to accompany their child to help them understand the content of the program.
- For children above 6 years old, make a time limit when they can use gadget. Make sure that time do not interfere with their sleep schedule, physical activity, and other good habit.
- Create a togetherness moment with family without the use of gadget, for example during dinner time. Include your child in the discussion about digital media. For example, discuss the rules and safety on being an online media user.