The children of the present age are referred to as ‘digital natives’ and rightly so. Today, kids learn the use of gadgets even before they’ve learned to walk or talk. According to research, children spend an average of 8 hours or more staring at the screens of electronic devices; that could be tablets, mobile phones, desktops, etc.
The internet has made everything readily available on all kinds of screens and when you have packages like Cox internet and others, users can enjoy non-stop entertainment on whichever screen they prefer. The question is, is the use of modern gadgets bad or good for children’s development? There is no one answer to that. While modern digital devices are beneficial to children in some aspects, excessive use of them also has negative effects on their development.
To have a better understanding, let’s discuss the various effects (positive and negative) that modern gadgets have on the development of a child.
1#. Enhanced Learning
Digital technology is today integrated into the classroom setting to enhance the learning experience for children. Devices like document cameras, 3D printers, smartboards and Apple TVs are becoming an essential part of educational lessons. They help in engaging children better and boost collaborative activities in the classroom. When there is an increased level of collaboration between students and teachers, there is more room for creativity. Besides, it makes dull lessons interactive and more meaningful for the child. When the learning process is engaging, fun and creative, the outcome is always better.
Even at home educational technologies can greatly assist kids to get the hang of alphabets, colors and numbers. They help parents teach their kids foundational skills before they enter formal schooling. Mobile device apps like Moose Math, Metamorphabet and Avokiddo ABC Ride are highly recommend by parents to introduce kids to the basics of arts, math and alphabets.
2#. Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills
A lot of the video games that kids are playing these days have a feature called ‘survival mode.’ It means that the players often find themselves in situations and environments where they are supposed to overcome obstacles and challenges. From finding an exit from a dangerous situation to collecting food and building shelter, it demands the player to think independently, navigate, make smart decisions and find a solution to achieve their goal.
Playing such games on modern gadgets enhances the problem-solving skills of the child. Of course, parents must control the amount of time allow for such games, else the children might get addict to them.
3#. Boosts Technological Literacy
Technological literacy is the need of the hour and our future greatly depends on it. Hence, the children of today must be familiar with gadgets and their use. Exposing them to digital devices would make them comfortable, interested and ready to foray into various technological fields/careers. Remember, the future holds great opportunities for tech-savvy people and the demand for them is expected to rise over time.
4#. Hampers Social Skills
Excessive use of gadgets will make a child used to being connected virtually. They would prefer and be more comfortable to text, chat or connect through online gaming rather than meeting in person and spending time with friends and family physically. This hampers their social communication skills which are essentially developed by face-to-face interaction. It includes knowing when to take turns during a conversation, how to speak with different kinds of people, making appropriate eye contact, using the right facial expressions, and understanding body language. When a child is passively viewing a screen for all kinds of communication, such social interaction skills do not develop. So when they are faced with a situation that demands face-to-face communication, they feel unequipped to deal with it.
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5#. Damaged Eyesight
Prolonged exposure to gadget screens puts strain on the eyes. Good eyesight largely depends upon the distance you maintain when looking at different things/screens. According to research, children who are addict to watching videos or playing games on smartphones and tablets are at a higher chance of developing eyesight problems.
6#. Stimulates Other Health Issues
The overuse of electronic gadgets can harm the health of a child in various ways. When they are spending more time before the screens, they are likely to indulge in unhealthy habits such as mindless snacking. With no physical activities like playing and running, the children are bound to gain weight which over time leads to significant health issues like diabetes, etc.
7#. Affects Sleep Quality
Children (even adults for that matter) who spend long periods viewing the screens of gadgets like laptops and cell phones are likely to suffer from sleep-related issues. If they use these devices right before going to bed, they may not get enough sleep. Furthermore, having a media device nearby while sleeping has also affect sleep quality.