With both parents working for demanding jobs under stressful timelines, tablets & phones have become the new babysitters. They help in feeding, putting them to sleep and keeping them occupied anytime, anywhere. Preschoolers use touchpads like feeding bottles and while tying a shoelace is tough, finding the power button on a device is not!
Are we making our kids lose themselves in a virtual bubble even before they have seen the real world?
Let’s look at the effects of excess screen time on children:
Lack of Physical Activity: They will always be sitting or sleeping or slouching while playing with these devices and get so involved that they forget the concept of outdoor activities. They develop weak body postures and have weak stamina or fitness levels due to no engagement of the body.
Mental Development Takes A Toll: Devices don’t help in knowledge development and reduce children to dumb dolls. When they indulge in conversations with the people is when they learn the most. Quality time with parents and ideally one-on-one conversations will keep their brains active & constructively occupied. In fact, excess dependence on devices delays language development too.
Aggression & Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorders(ADHD): The games designed today promote violence, anxiety & aggression. Morbidity is rampant in games making children more aggressive, indifferent & impatient in nature. Lack of physical activity & socialising with other children makes them self-obsessed and self-indulgent. Hence, they cease to have compassion or be sensitive towards others’ problems. This lack of emotional wellness makes children vulnerable to hyperactive or anxiety disorders.
They Develop Tantrums: When gadgets are taken away from them, children get irritated and express their anger & restlessness through uncontrollable tantrums, forcing parents to hand them the gadget back. This stubborn and arrogant way of getting exactly what they want will lead to subsequent behavioural issues.
Parents must realise the effects of excessive gadget use on the mental & physical well-being of their children and plan screen time accordingly and most of all take time out to engage with their children. Conversations at the dinner table, outdoor trips or games etc will keep them not only physically & mentally balanced but will make them wholesome human beings with compassion & vigour!