What happens to your child’s cognitive and social development when their love for the screens turns into an addiction?
Too much of a good thing can be bad
Technology is great – it’s cool, creative, and convenient. There’s a lot to love about it, and when it comes to a long flight or if you’re stuck in traffic, your little smart device can work wonders in keeping your child occupied. There is a plethora of things your little one can do on their smart devices. From learning a new language or skill, to playing games and watching their favourite cartoons.
What happens then when your child’s love for technology and the digital screen turns into an addiction they can’t live without? What happens when they spend every other hour begging for the screen, or when they throw a tantrum when you deny them of their smart devices? It’s a sign of addiction.
While you may be tempted to relent to your child’s demands for the screen, don’t. Stand your ground because there are detrimental, albeit unseen, effects on your child’s cognitive and social development when you unknowingly feed your child’s screen addiction.
How does screen addiction affect your child?
There is a burgeoning number of studies that have reported on the adverse effects of excessive screen time and childhood social and cognitive development. In fact, according to a particular study, users who demonstrated a high usage rate of smart devices were reported to exhibit lower self-control and emotional stability. When every bit of information and entertainment is at the tip of your child’s fingers quite literally, they experience a form of instant self-gratification. In real life, this may not always be the case and your child would have to work hard to get what he/she needs. By relying too much on the screen, your child may miss out on the opportunities to help him/her develop patience, resilience, and resourcefulness.
Excessive screen time prevents children from developing an understanding of their immediate physical environment. According to researcher Sheri Madigan from the University of Calgary’s psychology department, children who are addicted to their screens miss out on a variety of activities that help them develop their gross motor skills. These activities include running around, or riding a bike.
Besides that, Dr. Sigman from the British Psychological Society mentions that screen addiction can inadvertently result in damage to a child’s mental development. Your child’s screen addiction may impede their ability to concentrate and communicate effectively in real life. In some cases, your child may be unable to interpret nonverbal cues. And if not rectified while your child is still young, these effects may affect their growth in later years.
But don’t throw out those smartphones
Technology is great and it’s a portal to both entertainment and information. But as with everything, there will always be pros and cons. Screen addiction can be curbed and managed if done right. It will take a lot of persuading to get your child off their screens, but the long term effects are worth it.
How to curb children’s screen addiction?
The planoApp helps to manage your child’s screen time and prompts them to take eye breaks and spend an adequate amount of time off the screen. As a parent, you can set no-device times on your child’s smart device too. If your child follows all the reminders in the app, he/she gets rewarded with points which they can use to request for enrichment classes and outdoor activities.