For any parent in the mobile internet era most likely you have experienced how difficult it is to deny your children handling your smartphone, especially when you want them to behave well or keep them busy so that you can do an activity without disturbance. Smartphones are a popular device in every household.
There are so many apps with great videos and games intended for children that are good. However, it is not the children-friendly content that you have to worry about but the adverse effects of the prolonged exposure of kids to screen light on a regular basis. The younger the child is exposed, the bigger the consequences may be. Older children are likely to benefit from the apps especially those that promote learning. However, prolonged and frequent use of mobile devices may cause severe problems in normal health development as well as regular habits.
Below are some of the things you need to know especially for parents with the habit of giving their smartphones to their children for prolonged and frequent periods.
They promote sedentary behavior, which contributes to obesity.
All children are energetic, and they require to use a lot of energy to jump, play, skip, run and to do other regular children activities for healthy development of their body organs. The use of a Smartphone or any other screen media requires one to pay a lot of attention. Use of smartphones means that children will spend most of their time sitting around entertaining themselves with mobile devices. All the energy in their bodies will remain unused, and over a period, the excessive storage of fats in their bodies will lead to obesity.
They can cause eye discomfort.
Whether staring on screens over more extended periods can cause permanent eye damage is not yet known. Indeed, it causes discomfort in children. Adults also experience this problem, but it is most common in children. Usually, the discomfort characteristics are; eye pain, blurred vision fatigue, headaches, and dry eyes.
They contribute to sleep deprivation
Smartphones, just like other forms of media have screens that emit blue light that tends to imitate daylight that seems to baffle our internal body organs. Children, as well as adults, rely on their circadian rhythms to control sleep cycles when eyes are exposed to this blue light too late in the evening or at night, it sends a signal to the brain that it’s daytime and that it’s time to be awake. Therefore this will encourage poor sleeping patterns.
In case your child has a problem falling asleep or is experiencing a poor sleeping pattern, it’s high time you put a strict rule on cut-off time for smartphones and other mobile devices. You can put it that they should not be using smartphones 1-3 hours before bedtime. Instead, encourage them to read a book by themselves or even read it aloud for you.
They may inhibit the development of social skills.
In many ways, the use of smartphones can promote the development of social skills especially to children who use them appropriately in platforms like social media and instant messaging. However, Children may spend most of their time with mobile devices reducing the time they should be interacting face to face with friends. Parents should monitor their children, and in case they note a lack of interest of the child in interacting with friends; they should advise the child on minimizing the time they spend on smartphones.
It is apparent that as much as smartphones links with adverse outcomes on children, it is also evident that they offer benefits too. Children can handle quick cyber searches, quick decision making as well as develop a good multitasking skills. They also foster learning concepts and communications is among the significant benefits of smartphones to children.
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