Modern technology is something I have a very definite love-hate relationship with, especially when it comes to my kids’ use of it. Technology use among children is a bit of a hot topic at the moment and at times it can be tough to know what to think. Here’s a list of just some of the pros and cons of letting your kids use modern devices.
- Using gadgets such as tablets exercises the hand and so can actually improve the motor ability of young children’s hands.
- There are some very good apps out there which can be beneficial to a child’s education. They improve literacy rates and provide a fresh, fun and interactive learning outlet.
- If you’re in a tight spot and need your kids to be occupied and kept out of mischief for more than 5 minutes, handing them a tablet or smart phone is usually a failsafe way of achieving this. True, it’s not always the ideal solution but sometimes you just have to do what you need to do.
- Although modern devices are great exercises for the thumbs, the rest of the body tends to get neglected! Spending too much time sitting down (often with poor posture) and glued to a screen can negatively impact a child’s physical development.
- Mental health can also be affected by overuse of technology. Spending too much time playing on smart phones can be quite isolating and children fail to develop the social skills required to make real and lasting relationships. While the lack of strong interpersonal relationships might not be felt by a child to begin with, it can lead to depression and anxiety further down the line.
- Since the sudden increase in technology use among children there has been a marked increase in behavioural issues and disorders such as ADHD. Technology offers instant gratification and does not require a child to fully use their imagination, leading to short attention spans and a need for constant outside stimulation to avoid getting bored and losing interest.
There is no easy answer to this issue – ultimately it is up to the individual families to determine whether to allow their kids access to these technologies and if so, how much. Personally, I try to limit my kids’ screen time to an hour per day and make sure that they spend time with friends and outside. Of course, life doesn’t always work out that way so there are days when my kids spend way longer on the tablet but the odd day out of routine won’t be catastrophic –it’s about doing the best you can as often as you can but not beating yourself up for being human.
Are your kids screen junkies? Do you struggle to get them outside or doing other activities? How do you handle it?