In this modern technological world, smartphones have become a necessity, and it is extremely hard for parents to resist the desire of their children to have smartphones. As parents want their children to be good in studies, they also want their children to get some entertainment because it keeps mind healthy. Mobile phones being the readily available sources of entertainment, parents are forced to give their children either smartphones or tablets.
At the same time, many parents want their children to remain busy because if they aren’t, they will keep on making mischiefs and troubling them one way or the other; that’s why most parents allow smartphones to their children. At the same time, most people are concerned about the inappropriate content on the internet that their children can access; this is a genuine concern, but they should worry more about the effects of the exposure of mobile screens for large periods of time.
The brains of small children are in the phase of development, and if they are exposed much to the smartphones, it can have severe consequences. Some types of research show that parents shouldn’t expose their children who are less than two years old to any electronic gadget like mobile, tablet or any other thing.
It is undeniable that children also learn a lot from mobile phones because there are many useful apps that aid in learning, but still, the excessive use is harmful.
Here are few things that you should always keep in mind because these things affect the body and mind of your children if they are using mobile phones excessively.
You must be aware of the fact that electronic gadgets – especially those with screens – induce sleep deprivation; you must be aware of it only in a general sense because you know your children use mobile phones late at night and thus don’t sleep on proper time. You probably don’t know the complex phenomenon which remains at work when your children use mobile phones and which contributes to sleep deprivation.
All the mobile phones and other gadgets with screens use blue light in a way that to mimic the daylight. This completely disturbs our inner sleep cycles as well as our internal body clocks. Actually what happens is that when you use your mobile phones late at night, your internal sleeping cycle is disturbed because your brain thinks that the mobile lights you are exposed to is the daylight and hence prompt you to stay awake. One research shows that those children who are exposed to electronic gadgets – like TV or mobile phones are likely to have irregular sleep patterns.
If you are continuously worried that your children are so obsessed with mobile phones and won’t sleep on time in the night, and then there is a need to make a strict plan for them. You should ask them to stop using all the gadgets and mobile phone two or three hours before sleep. You should strictly follow this plan. Make use of these two or three hours in a more positive manner, and ask your children to read any book aloud.
Contributing to Sedentary Behavior and Obesity
Whenever you use any electronic gadget or mobile phone, you need to sit at one place to pay attention to it. Sitting in one place for hours with your eyes fixed on the screen can have negative impacts on the children because children have natural urge to do physical activities like playing, jumping and running etc. If they aren’t doing all these things it is highly likely that their body won’t grow properly. A current research by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that one hour of physical activity on daily basis is extremely necessary for the proper growth of your children. This one-hour activity can range from low-intensity exercise to vigorous activities.
If your children are too obsessed with electronic gadgets and remain sitting in the house and keep on entertaining themselves with movies, games or other applications, then you should really think about changing their routine because if they keep on doing this, it will lead to obesity.
Obesity is the real problem and most people in the modern world suffer from it. Obesity can also cause real health problems. Indulging in physical activities like swimming, cricket, soccer or any other thing which urges you to move your body can really help you a lot in keeping your children fit.
Causing Eye Discomfort
It is not scientifically proven yet that the mobile screens damage your eyes, but it is certain that the excessive staring at your smartphones can cause some discomfort in your eyes. The eye discomfort is not only restricted to children, but adults can also have this eye discomfort symptom. It is usually said that children are more affected than the adults because of the unique ways with which they use smartphones like placing the screens at few inches distance from their eyes.
The eye discomfort conditions that are likely to be found in children are known as “digital eye strain”. These conditions involve fatigue, blurred vision, headache, pain in eyes, and dry eyes.
Reducing the time of exposure of children to mobile phones is not sufficient to ensure the proper health and safety of the eyes. Parents should have regular medical checkups of the eyes of their children. Parents should also make their children aware that they need to place the electronic devices at a proper distance to avoid any eye discomfort.
The brightness of the devices is one very important thing. If you are using a mobile phone in the night with full brightness, in no time it will start causing pain in your eyes. You should teach your children that how they need to adjust the brightness of their mobile phones for different situations – for instance, different brightness for day and night. You should also teach your children that they should take a break of 10 or 20 minutes when they are using their mobile phones consistently.
Aches in the Body, Neck, and Shoulder
Whenever we use smartphones, we need to tilt our head down so that we could look on the screen; sometimes this causes pain in the upper part of our body especially in the neck. If your children keep their backs in a bad posture all the time in order to use smartphones, this can have severe consequences like you are probably going to develop a hunchback.
Telling your children about the proper body positioning can help them a lot. Parents should also teach their children that whenever they are using smartphones, they should hold their mobiles upward to the height so that they don’t have to bend their back or tilt their neck. Downward gazing instead of tilting your head downwards can also help a lot to avoid the neck pain.
Shortened Attention Spans
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a syndrome in which you can’t focus on anything for a long span of time. According to a report, in 1990, only 5% children suffered from this syndrome, but this figure has increased to 11% recently. This is because of the continuous use of smartphones.
If any child is diagnosed with ADHD, he can be treated by medication. Not only the diagnosed children’s parents should worry about it, but all parents in general because it is a genuine concern. You can save your children from ADHD before it happens to them by specifying to them a time limit in which they can use their smartphones – no more than that.
Mobile Phones Obstruct the Development of Social Skills
There isn’t any consistent research which indicates that mobile phones obstruct the development of social skills of children, but there are certainly some negative effects of mobile phones on the social development and interaction of children. When you use your mobile phone for long time spans, it is certain that you are spending less and less time with your friends. A research indicates that the excessive use of mobile phones numbs your ability to recognize human emotions.
Using mobile phones for social interaction is also a good thing especially if you have set a time limit and criteria for that. Mobile phones can also help you in building relationships. But parents should keep an eye on their children that whether they are interacting with their friends on the social media only; if so they should encourage live participation and meetings.
High Levels of Anxiety and Depression
Smartphones can also cause anxiety and depression in children in many ways. Most children see the world through the lens of social media, and they continuously keep on posting images and doing other activities that will attract maximum attention. All this finally becomes a competition, and when children find that they are unable to compete with different personalities in many ways, they become sad and consequently patients of anxiety and depression.
Responsible parents should have access to the social media accounts of their children and a keen eye on all their activities.
Brain Functioning and Impairment
There are many types of research that indicate that the excessive use of mobile phones can cause brain impairment; the results are impairing cognitive functioning and debilitating dopamine function. All this can be reduced by taking strict measures and limiting the time usage of smartphones to not more than 3 hours.