I’m always amazed at how comfortable young children are around handheld devices. I’ve watched a little girl under the age of two navigate her grandma’s iPhone, find her favorite alphabet app and proceed to sing the ABC’s. These days, toddlers can turn on their tablets, scroll through Netflix and watch their favorite movie before we’ve even had our first cup of coffee in the morning. Kids are well-versed in technology and they are so comfortable with the platform that it’s like second nature to them. Cell phones, tablets, laptops and iPods seem like just another toy.
But still, we have to wonder–is all this technology good for them?
The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t think so. Their timeline for exposing young children to technology reads something like this:
- 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology
- 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day
- 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day
As a mom of six kids within the age range of 6-18 years, I can sheepishly admit that some days my kids get way more than two hours on a handheld device. If you combine gaming, social media, reading books on their tablet, making videos, completing homework assignments, answering emails from teachers and chatting with friends, my kids are on their way to digital dementia.
Which is a thing, you know.
A pediatric occupational therapist for Huff Po Parents coined these ten reasons why handheld devices should be banned for children under the age of 12. I’ll share the top five that really caught my attention from Zone’in:
Rapid brain growth and nature
Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli, or lack thereof. Kids need to experience the outdoors–they need to spend time in “green” spaces or their brains aren’t going to grow the way they should.
Using technology restricts our movement. Movement and play are essential not only for child development and learning, but for survival. Not moving can lead to delayed development.
Violence is a learned behavior. Children who are exposed to violent content may act out aggressively, physically, and sexually toward their peers. Are we training our kids to kill?
Connection to technology is actually disconnecting children from self, others, nature, and spirit. The result? Addictions to Facebook, video games, pornography to name a few.
Children who overuse technology are experiencing a variety of problems: memory loss, distraction, obesity, anxiety, loneliness, child depression and the inability to concentrate.
This is really sobering news. Still, I have no idea how I can curb my children’s habits. Not when I am just as obsessed with my phone/laptop/iPad as they are. Unfortunately, it feels like the blind leading the blind over here.