Children’s use of technology: benefit or loss of childhood?

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In a world increasingly marked by technology, it is easy to find children who still don’t know how to tie their shoes browsing the internet, and using smartphones or tablets. But is this early insertion in the world of technology beneficial for the little ones or should we keep parental control?

A survey carried out last year with families around the world showed that 66% of children between the ages of 3 and 5 were able to play computer games, 47% knew how to use a smartphone, but only 14% were able to tether. the shoes alone. In the case of American children, the survey showed that 97% of children between 6 and 9 years old use the internet, and 54% have a Facebook profile.

Although there is still no consensus among experts, many point to the dire consequences of children’s excessive contact with new technologies. Canadian therapist Cris Rowan, for example, argues that the use of technology by children under 12 is harmful to children’s development and learning.

Overexposure

According to her, the child’s overexposure to cell phones, the internet, iPad, and television is related to attention deficit, cognitive delays, learning difficulties, impulsivity, and problems in dealing with feelings such as anger. 

Other common problems would be obesity (because the child does less physical activity), sleep deprivation (when children use technology in the bedroom), and the risk of technology addiction.

Because of these risks, last year the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society recommended limits on children’s exposure to all types of media (television, games, internet, smartphones, etc.). 

For entities, the ideal is that only after 2 years of age do children start having contact with these devices for a limited time. Up to the age of 5, children should only spend a maximum of 1 hour in front of screens. The time increases to 2 hours for children from 6 to 12 years old and to 3 hours for 13 years old.

But, even with so many recommendations, many parents seem not to care about the matter. Under the justification that today it is important to know how to work with new technologies from an early age or simply to avoid annoyance, parents end up leaving children free to use the equipment in the way they want, which can cause problems not only for the little ones but for all the family.

“We need to find a way to educate today’s parents, and parents-to-be, about the harms and benefits of electronic media and help them make positive choices for their children.” for the End of Child Commercial Exploitation.

Rule enforcement doesn’t work if your own parents overreact

Although it seems difficult to find a balance between the current lifestyle – increasingly marked by the use of new technologies – and the regulation of the use of electronic media, parents must establish rules and work so that the little ones do not end up overdoing it at the time. to use electronic devices.

For this, the first thing parents should do is ask themselves if they are not using smartphones, tablets, and computers too much. It’s no use imposing rules on children and setting a bad example. Another point is not to encourage children to handle the equipment ahead of time. The best thing is to let them show interest themselves and only after that can parents show them how to use the appliances correctly.

Safety

Parents also need to be aware of the safety of their little ones when using devices that allow access to the internet. Unfortunately, cases of children and adolescents who end up being victims of pedophiles through the network are common.

To reduce the risks of this happening, it is important to guide children to use the internet properly, avoiding, for example, chatting with strangers and disclosing personal data.

The installation of monitoring tools or blocking some internet content is another way to protect the little ones. Keeping the computer in a common area of ​​the house with the screen always visible and limiting the time you use the equipment can also help.

But the most important thing is to maintain a dialogue with the child, being willing to clarify doubts and explain the reasons why it is necessary to use new technologies with caution.

A few years ago children dreamed of winning bicycles or video games, today the object of desire is smartphones, which, in addition to serving as cell phones, offer internet access, games, message exchange, and many other features. But as much as the little ones insist, it’s not always advisable to give in.

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