Technology has today become both a boon and a bane. Technological innovations have made our lives easier. But at the same time, technology poses several problems. The biggest problem is the overexposure to technology by kids. Today, kids of all ages use technology in the form of the internet, mobile phones, and other devices.
There are many instances of kids becoming addicted to technology. This can affect their academics and personal lives. It is required to limit the use of technology and regulate it. But how do we decide the limits? If you had this question, then read on to know the answer to the question that most parents have.
Why limit technology for kids?
1) Prevents addiction
Adults get addicted to gaming and social media, spending hours wasting their time. When such is the case, it is not a surprise that kids also get addicted. The plethora of websites, online games, mobile apps, movies, and TV shows can be very attractive. Kids can end up spending too much on such activities. This addiction can affect their schooling. It can also cut them off from social activities affecting their personalities.
2) Can cause health problems
Too much use of technology in the form of devices can lead to health problems. Kids (and even adults) sit hunched peering into their mobile phones and devices. This is a very bad posture causing stress on the spine. Over time, it can lead to back pain, and neck pain, and even cause serious spinal problems.
The light from the screen can strain the eyes. It can lead to vision problems. Kids are growing and their bodies need exposure to sunlight. They need to play outside to be fit. But kids end up spending the whole day inside the home with devices. This can be detrimental to their health. It can even affect the development of kids.
3) Affects sleep
Sleep is extremely important for children. They need at least 9 to 10 hours of sleep. But most kids surreptitiously stay awake using their devices. The lack of sleep can cause health problems. It can affect their ability to concentrate and interfere with their academic performance.
4) Can make them go astray
The internet has a lot of useful resources. At the same time, it is a dark and scary place. Kids can get exposed to pornography, which can seriously affect them. They may get in touch with people who peddle drugs. Cybercriminals can trap kids into interacting with them and kids can end up sharing photos and videos. This can be misused leading to serious problems.
Limiting technology: How to do it?
Kids cannot be cut off from technology as it offers vast benefits. But they should be prevented from getting addicted. This can be done by monitoring the use of technology and also by limiting its use. How much to limit and how to limit are the key issues here. Here are some guidelines as per recommendations by experts including the AAP (Association of American Pediatricians):
- No exposure to screens (mobile, TV, or any devices) for kids below 2 years. (Video calls can be an exception).
- Kids 2 to 5 years should get less than an hour’s exposure to technology each day.
- For older children, screen time should be balanced with other activities. They need 9 hours of sleep and at least an hour of outside play/activity. They would also need some time to study. Screen time can be planned keeping this in mind.
Now that you have understood the concept of limiting exposure to screens/technology, it is time to understand how to do it.
- It is important to have the right balance between exposure to technology and other activities. The use of technology by children needs to be monitored. This can be done by preventing them from spending time alone with devices. Monitoring what they do is important, especially for kids below 13.
- Monitor kids to find out if they are spending sufficient time outdoors and with friends. It is vital that they get their sleep. Also, monitor their eating habits.
- Parents need to be good role models for their children. Unfortunately, most parents spend the entire evening with their devices. This is a bad example and kids would emulate them. It is important that parents spend quality time with kids and not use devices especially while having dinner.
- Parents need to explain the negative aspects of technology and make students understand the problems involved with overexposure. They should be told about the limits in terms of the number of hours and why this is being done.
- Encourage kids to use technology to learn and do creative things.