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Placating Kids With Tech-Gadgets? 6 Reasons You Shouldn’t

Drew is a professional pharmacist and researcher. A voracious reader of various forms of literature - novels, articles, journals, news.

It was one nice afternoon, a perfect time for relaxation

You were sitting on a velvety couch, watching your favorite Netflix series. Your favorite character was about to meet the murderer. Tension’s rising, the climax was coming. You held your breath, gripping tightly in your sit.

All was set. But not for your kid. The tension exploded along with the piercing cry from your five-year-old kid.

You look at the little one and thought hard, your brows scrunching. You immediately opened a game from your smartphone, your eyes still focus on the screen. Giving your five-year-old kid, his own world to enjoy. Then, all is well. Well, not really.

Felt familiar, right? Most parents have probably had a hands-on experience regarding this issue. All of us know how hard to placate a young kid, especially a crying one. So, we go for the easy way out. What easy way out? Yep, tech gadgets are the answer. The smartphone, the computer, X-box, Nintendo console, or even PS4. You just give them the gadget, and most of them just stop crying.

Nevertheless, have you ever ask yourselves what kinds of effect can this tech-gadget does to your kid? I guess your answer, no, nein, and nadda. Simply put, you don’t know its harmful effects. Heck, I believe that’s for most of the parents around the globe.

Believe me, giving those smartphones to your children will one day haunt you.
Wrong and unguided use of gadgets can lead to a lot of consequences.

Anyway, let’s dig deeper into why you shouldn’t soak the kids early in those gadgets. Just to be clear. I’m not insinuating that everything is bad about those X-box and other gadgets.

Proper use of technology can also help children. But hey, that’s for another article. Let’s zero first on what those gadgets and smartphones do to the young ones.

Here are seven reasons why you shouldn’t use gadgets to appease a child. Research-based claims about your kid and those tech-gadgets.

1. Gadgets Can Hinder Brain Development

Believe it or not, excessive exposure to modern gadgets can negatively affect your child’s brain development. Media devices have been linked to task insufficiency, safety hazards, and loss of attention in young kids.

It also lessens the quality time between the parents and children. These parent-children interactions are necessary for building the reasoning and perception of children. These interactions mold the children’s understanding of what is right, and what is wrong. Something incredibly important for the proper brain development of a growing child.

Even so, it doesn’t mean that everything about gadgets and technology is rotten. The content and substance matters. Hey, all things are good until you use it wrong.

Parents should always guide their children especially the young ones. The little ones take everything they see on face value. Give time to your children lest they turn into gadgets for comfort.

2. Early Radiation Exposure

If your little one really loves to ask for your smartphones, then this one is for you. A 2018 study showed that a young, thin skull of a child absorbs radiation 10 times higher as compared to the adults. A clear indication that children are far more vulnerable than most of us can imagine.

Though not fully established yet, some studies linked the increased cases of cancer to smartphones and other radiation-emitting technology. Studies have shown evidence of growing cases of neuroepithelial brain cancer in children, adolescents, and young adults from 2008-2012.

The American Cancer Society even considers radio-frequency radiation as possibly carcinogenic based on a few evidence. Radiofrequency radiation can be found in cell phones, computers, and smartphones. Though not fully supported yet, its something every parent should know at least. After all, it’s a very concern-inducing issue, isn’t it?

3. Smartphone and Tech Gadget Addiction

No one beats this issue in terms of popularity – tech addiction. I believe every parent who has given their child a smartphone had experience with this.

Technology addiction has led to a lot of children astray. In some cases, it even led to self-harm and cause harm to others. It made a lot of children argumentative, violent, impulsive, and distracted. China and Korea even consider technology addiction as a public health crisis.

There’s a lot of evidence pertaining that these gadgets could lead the young ones astray. I even read a piece of news where a young man died after playing StarCraft for 50 hours with little breaks. Heck, that’s some serious gaming over there. Though not all cases may become like this, you must understand its severity.

Technology makes us happy. So happy that we became numb to it. Did you know that when you get some likes on social media, our body release dopamine?

Dopamine gives us a sense of happiness. Or a kick of instant gratification – something hard to rein in. And when you can’t get enough of it, addiction starts. Its effect is like a lesser form of cocaine. Something you don’t want your child to be fed with.

No wonder Steve Jobs and Bill Gates regulated their children’s use of the technology they created.

Many of you might have thought hard why your child become addicted. What really went wrong?”

Dear parents, every bad thing, whatever it may be, had small beginnings. When your child cries, don’t stuff some smartphones or gadgets into their hands. Turn away from whatever you are doing, and take some time for your child.

Speak to them, console with them. If you love them, do them the favor. Hear me, regrets happen when you could have done better.

4. Promotes Tantrum Issues

Those gadgets had literally devastated a lot of families. Both the child and the parents. When a technology addicted child is deprived of a smartphone, a tantrum starts.

Parents are your there? You might have some hands-on experience with this. You took away what your baby is watching on some tablet and she cries. Soon, exasperation and pity take over. So, you will just give the child the antidote – a dose of entertainment. The very gadget you had pulled away.

I totally discourage with this dumb practice. Children are like a sponge. They learn really fast. The child will take it that when he or she throws a tantrum, he or she will get what she wants. Hey parents, pity, and foolishness are two different things.

Let me share with you a wisdom-filled verse proverb. Parents, please try to understand with an open mind. But hey, just a warning, there’s also the right way to discipline.

Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

— Proverbs 13:24 NIV

5. Rising Cases of Child Obesity

The sayings ring true to this one. The more you sit, the more you eat. Believe me, your little ones are not an exception to this.

A published study showed that constant exposure to gadgets promotes obesity risk in children. Even so, it is not only children. I believe that most of us are guilty of this.

Screen media exposure has also lead to increased eating while viewing (I’m guilty as charged) and reduced sleep. Factors attributed to obesity among children and adolescents.

Improper use of gadgets had also increased the number of children who don’t exercise. A thing attributed to obesity. Most parents know of this issue, especially the wives. When a gadget or smartphone is in the kid’s hand, he just stops moving like your husband. Whelp, you got a new couch potato aside from your other half.

Aside from that, social media exposure also affects children’s food preferences and consumption habits. When your child sees that unhealthy burger teeming with cheese, patty, and so on. When that doorbell rings and the delivery man comes in. You already know what your child is salivating for.

What’s worse? Your doorbell rings – followed by burger delivery man. All this happened through a single smartphone transaction. Unfortunately, all without your consent.

6. Negative Effects on School Performance

Yep, those tech-gadgets can also affect a child’s study. A reason why you should appease them with those smartphones and computers. These gadgets can distract children from studying.

Studies have also shown that excessive exposure to tech-gadgets can also cause sleep problems. In the end, possibly affecting a child’s school performance.

Hey, some internet slangs also affects children’s grammatical skills. Even you might have past through some grammatically incorrect or slang words in social media. Though you know its wrong, your children don’t. Like a sponger, they accept it as right.

Anyway, not all technology is bad for children. It all boils down on how we guide our children in using it. The pandemic had shown us how those tech-gadgets can also be good. Thanks to it, your child can study online without fear of infection.

Proper use of gadgets even helps children improve their academic, emotional, and social performance.

The Takeaway

Is technology really the one to blame about this issue? It is the one wrong right? This is the problem in many of us. We simply loved to point our pointing fingers, not realizing that the other four fingers are pointing at us.

Remember, technology was created to make our lives easier. Even so, we ought to be responsible in using it, especially for the little ones. Again I repeat, all is good until you use it wrongly.

Anyway, time to take some internet break.

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References

  • Linebarger, D. L., et al. (2014). Associations between parenting, media use, cumulative risk, and children's executive functioning. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics, JDBP, 35(6), 367–377.
  • Bozzola, E., et al. (2018). Media devices in pre-school children: the recommendations of the Italian pediatric society. Italian Journal of Pediatrics, 44(1), 69.
  • Fernández, C., et al. (2018). Absorption of wireless radiation in the child versus adult brain and eye from cellphone conversation or virtual reality. Environmental Research, 167, 694–699.
  • Wahyuni, A. S., et al. (2019). The Relationship between the Duration of Playing Gadget and Mental Emotional State of Elementary School Students. Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 7(1), 148–151.
  • Hofferth, S. L., & Moon, U. J. (2012). Cell Phone Use and Child and Adolescent Reading Proficiency. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 1(2), 108–122.
  • Ostrom, Q. T., et al. (2016). American Brain Tumor Association Adolescent and Young Adult Primary Brain and Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States in 2008-2012. Neuro-oncology, 18.
  • Odgers C. (2018). Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all. Nature, 554(7693), 432–434.
  • Trevor Haynes. (2018). Dopamine, Smartphones & You: A battle for your time. Science in the news. Retrieved on August 31, 2020.
  • Sharma, M. K., & Palanichamy, T. S. (2018). Psychosocial interventions for technological addictions. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(Suppl 4), S541–S545.
  • Robinson, T. N., et al. (2017). Screen Media Exposure and Obesity in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics, 140(Suppl 2), S97–S101.
  • Hosokawa, R., & Katsura, T. (2018). Association between mobile technology use and child adjustment in early elementary school age. PloS one, 13(7).

Comments

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on September 07, 2020:

Thanks for reading Danny. I'm not sure about the abacus but I do agree with you in encouraging kids to play educational games like chess, monopoly, the game of the generals, lego, and other types of toys.

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on September 01, 2020:

Hi, Dora. Thanks for reading. I will be super glad if this article indeed helps. Many parents especially the young one's needs to know this information.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 01, 2020:

All these reasons are super important. Numbers 3 and 5 are very obvious. Thanks for making parents aware.

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on September 01, 2020:

I totally agree with you, Flourish. I've seen a lot of young people who spend a lot of time on tech gadgets especially the new generation. And a lot of them are experiencing social issues. They're troubled about how to express themselves to others.

Drew Agravante (author) from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on September 01, 2020:

Thanks for passing by Maren. I personally experience this in my family. These tech gadgets really affect child-parent bonding, and not in a good way.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 01, 2020:

They also seem to degrade social skills through lack of practice. Kids aren’t getting the face to face interactions they used to and don’t know as much how to start conversations, maintain eye contact, etc. They are more concerned with social awkwardness because there is a lot more of it.

Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on August 31, 2020:

Fabulous article. Cell/mobile phones have created real problems in parenting (like the parent missing opportunities to talk with the child, teach new words, etc...) The explosion of tech gadgets compounds all sorts of potential bad parenting habits.

Danny from India on August 31, 2020:

Drew, you are right about this article. Gadgets hamper normal functioning and growth in kids. They should be given ABACUS or toy games with cognitive features to pick up things naturally.