Gadgets usage among children has been on the rise for some time now. It only seems to grow further. But what could giving gadgets to your children do?
Article written by: Aishwarya S Y
In communication, there is a role of messenger and message recipient. In order for communication to be well established, there needs to be good cooperation between the two parties. Speaking is not just the pronunciation of words or sounds, but it is a tool to express, convey, or communicate thoughts, ideas, and feelings. The growth stage of children also includes the ability to speak. Language skills can be an indicator of their growth. According to Vygotsky “children use speech not only to communicate socially but also to help them complete the task”. Children at an early age use language to plan, guide, and monitor their behaviour.
During the toddler years, the brain triples in size and continues to develop until the adult years. Whereas it should be noted that the period of growth of children who are very sensitive is at the age of 1 to 5 years. It is often called the golden age. At this time all aspects of intelligence, for example, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual intelligence experience extraordinary development. When children are at the golden age all information will be absorbed quickly as they are good at imitating what others do especially their parents.
The radiation from the gadgets can damage their nerve and brain tissue when they use gadgets frequently. Excessive gadget usage may have an effect on children’s eye health, sleep problems, concentration difficulties, decreasing learning achievement, physical development, body weight imbalance. Many studies have proven that excessive usage of gadgets would have a negative impact on the health of the organs of the user especially the eye. In addition, children who frequently use technology often ignore their surroundings. They prefer facing sophisticated technology they have than playing with their peers in a playground or in the environment surrounding them. So social communication between children and the environment is increasingly reduced. In this sophisticated era that continues to grow, parents are required to be extra careful in maintaining and guiding the growth of their children. The gadget usage excessively in children will result in addiction. The criteria of addiction include preoccupation, less tolerance, loss of control, and self-withdrawal.
Most parents have observed that their kids learn to be aggressive due to long hours of playing games on their tablets. Tantrums are the most common form of aggressiveness among toddlers. As they grow older, children who are addicted to computer games are more likely to confront and disobey their elders. According to the 2011 report of the World Health Organization, cellphones and other wireless devices are considered category 2B risk because of their radiation emission. In December 2013, Dr. Anthony Miller from the University of Toronto’s School of Public Health revealed that radiofrequency exposure is clearly a threat to children.
Many studies have collected the parents’ opinion regarding gadget usage by their children aged 6 to 24 weeks, and their screen time. The children who were given the gadgets for more than an hour every day had an increased risk of speech delay. While other forms of communication such as body language, emotions, to eye contact are not affected. Too much gadget use introduces depression in children of certain ages. It also leads to mental health issues in childhood and adolescence.
Delays in starting to speak can have other effects, when children are unable to express their frustration through words, they will tend to use their body movements or loud voices to attract attention. In other words, children will appear unable to control their emotions. In addition, speaking delay can affect children’s academic abilities at school. The ability to understand text and string words is not only important in language learning, but also in other subjects.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children >2 years of age watch TV or use other media (gadgets) for no longer than 2 hours per day. In addition, children under 2 years, should not be exposed to media at all. In addition to this, children may have delayed speech and language development due to TV watching habits and the children who watch for hours are at higher risk of delay in language development. Children need appropriate stimulation for optimal development. There are many ways to provide stimulation so that children improve their language development. Some parents believe that watching TV is one such method, while TV may actually lead to language delays. Instead, stimulation can be provided to the children by encouraging children to listen to sounds in the environment, maintaining eye contact with the children and maintaining their attention as long as possible while talking to them, following the child’s lead, responding to all spontaneous sound-making or vocalizations by giving the child full and immediate attention, and by giving positive reinforcement, such as a hug or smile.