Children and Technology-Negative Impacts of Technology
Dr Gowher Yusuf
Hal 3rd stage, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
In a past few decades’ technologies has completely changed the outlook of our society, from the way we work, the way we socialize, the way we deal with our parents and children and everything in between. One of the most noticeable changes which anyone can recognize is the way that children play and interact with each other.
Although technology does provide many positive benefits for learning, it also can have many adverse effects on child development and quality of life.
Negative Impact of technology on Youth
Today children don’t get as much exercise as they used to. This is because technology such as television, DVDs, video games, internet, cell phones, and PDAs and computers encourages them to be desk-bound when they get home from school, as opposed to going outside and playing with other kids. Child obesity rates have risen extremely over the past several decades. In 2012, the child obesity rate was measured to be 18 percent, which is an 11 point difference from the obesity rate in 1980.
Research has also shown that twice as many children and three times as many adolescents are suffering from obesity than just 30 years ago based on increased body mass index scores (National Centre for Health Statistics, 2012; Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2012). In particular, during that same 30-year period, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the percentage of obese 6- to 11-year-olds increased from 7% to 18% while the percentage of obese 12- to 19-year-olds increased similarly from 5% to 18% (CDC, 2013a).
Many schools and parents have recognized the effect of technology on children and have made strides to change this by promoting organized exercise both during and after school, and we still have a long way to go in helping kids playing in more conventional ways.
The Annenberg Public Policy Centre has reported that among U.S. households with children aged 8 to 17, 60% had home computers and children in 61% of households with computers had access to Internet services. In other words, 36.6% of all households with children had Internet services, more than twice the percentage of that in 1996 (Turow, 1999). Elementary aged children use, on average, eight hours per day of entertainment technology, and 65% of these children have TVs in their bedroom, in North American homes 50% have the TV on all day.
Many technologies for kids deprive them of the advantages of spending time outdoors when they depend entirely on it for entertainment purposes. There are many sound effects on the body of spending time outdoors. It provides you with exposure to sunlight, which supplies your body with Vitamin D. This helps to fight infections and keeps skin healthy. In addition to this, regular exposure to sunlight helps to keep your sleep cycle regular by influencing the body’s production of melatonin. In recent studies, it has shown that screens from devices such as tablets and smartphones emit harmful blue light that can cause headaches, eye strain and irritated eyes for children. Furthermore, sleep is also disturbed by a harmful blue light when children are exposed to screen time in the evening due to the suppression of the hormone melatonin, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It makes continuously difficult for a child’s body to get a good sleep.
This doesn’t mean that all technology is bad, or that children should never use technology. Technology provides lots of positive opportunities for learning, reading, writing, entertaining, and socializing, but it should be supervised and used appropriately.
How to protect your kids from the negative effects of technology?
- Monitor your children screen time and maintain it.
- Encourage your kid to go to the park and play with his friends.
- Avoid distracting your child with electronics, get your child crayons and coloring books, and creative toys.
- A child needs around 10 hours of sleep daily as there mind is very active and it needs rest to reduce the strain your child had during the day.
- Tell your child to take blink breaks when their eyes ache as it will reduce the strain and ease the pain in the eye.
- Make sure your child sits atleast 20 inches away from the electronic screen.
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