A recent report in one of the leading newspapers in the world, The Guardian, says, “children’s obsession with TV, cell phones, computers and screen games is causing developmental damage as well as long-term physical harm.” But what exactly are these ‘damages’? In this article, we dig a little deeper to find out the effects of gadgets on children.
First, let us start with psychological effects.
Gadgets and its Psychological Effects
As a parent, you buy gadgets for your kids because you want your child to develop an aptitude in technology. This is totally acceptable. However, to develop this aptitude, you cannot just replace all the traditional playmates of your kid like puzzles, crayons and teddy bears with modern gadgets and apps. According to a study by the British Psychological Institute, “Some of the traditional play value often is removed, and there can be repercussions that are detrimental to children.”
One of the main problems with these gadgets is that once your child gets his hand on a gadget, it is pretty hard to separate them. This will lead to prolonged hours of bonding between your kid and gadget. Your child’s interaction with the society or even family will be, almost entirely, cut off. When this happens in a child’s growing stages, it will affect his or her interpersonal skills. If you know any kids with this kind of a gadget addiction, you would already know what we are talking about here.
All you parents used to read novels and comics when you were young, right? You would also recall the way you were able to create an image of each and every situation in that book- an imaginary scene. This is something kids addicted to gadgets won’t be able to do. Rather than reading novels and stories, they watch the graphic representation of these stories in animated movies and games. This slowly, but surely, eats away your child’s cognitive skill of imagination.
Are you still not convinced? Maybe words and findings of some professionals might help. Let us hear the words of Dr Larry Rosen, a psychology professor based in U.S. He has been doing researches in this area of psychology from the time of the first portable Compaq.
According to him, addiction to computers and modern gadgets can cause a series of mental illness, which he categorizes as ‘iDisorders’. His list includes psychological issues like ADHD and OCD. All of a sudden, your child could turn hyper, inattentive and start doing strange things like checking everything twice and anxious rituals. All of these are related to ADHD and OCD. But, the Doctor’s biggest fear is how these gadgets lead people, especially kids, to a ‘socially withdrawn’ life. And trust me, Dr.Rosen is not the only professional worried about these developments. In short, by gifting more and more gadgets, you are encouraging your kid to be a socially withdrawn odd bird.
Physical / Health Effects of Gadget Addiction
If you thought psychological effects of gadgets on your children were bad, wait till you hear the physical effects. It is estimated that a kid born today, by the time he or she turn 18, would have spent about three years of their life gazing at these gadgets! The fact might sound interesting, but it is not very promising if you are the parent. These three years of bonding with gadgets might result in heart conditions, diabetics and even depression.
A recent study revealed that playing video games or watching TV increases blood pressure, while the good old habit of reading books reduces blood pressure. The study concludes that every kid should be allowed the least amount of time to sit around. Obviously, gadgets are not helping in this cause.
Apart from the above listed health risks, your child might also suffer from bad eye due to prolonged hours of staring at computer screens. You do see many kids wearing specs at very young age these days- clearly an effect of computers and TVs.
Some gadgets, especially mobile phones and computers, can cause sleeplessness, headache and stress. Back pain, neck pain, nerve damages etc are also results of this bonding with gadgets. Your children may not have any of these now, but the symptoms will start to show when they grow older.
By now, you would have understood the fact that you are no way helping your child by gifting more and more gadgets. You would have also understood that these gadgets are not the best babysitters around either. However, it doesn’t mean you should keep your kid completely away from gadgets. These gadgets are almost synonymous with oxygen in today’s world. The trick, however, is in finding the right balance.
What do you think about buying gadgets for your kids? Do you want your child to become someone like Nobita? What is your idea of a good gift for your kid? Share your thoughts via comments.