Growing Impact of Tech Usage Among Kids
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
More than two-thirds of parents in the U.S. are of the thought that parenting has become a lot harder than it was 20 years ago. And the majority of them cite technology as one of the biggest reasons.
Parenting is not an easy task. It never was and never will be. But the additional challenges that parents face with the introduction of technology to their children’s lives is unprecedented and most parents feel that while tech has made a lot many things easier, it has definitely added new setbacks to the already prevalent challenges of parenthood.
According to a 2020 report published by Pew Research Center, almost 66% of parents in the U.S are of the view that parenting is a lot harder today than it was 20 years ago. When asked, most of the parents from the group quoted technology as one of the prime reasons behind the behavioural shift amongst their kids.
Technology Impact on Child Growth & Development
In today’s day and age, we cannot simply keep away from technology. It’s an ever-present part of our lives and with each passing day, the amount of time humans spend interacting with technology is only increasing. It directly impacts kid’s tech usage as well. It is impossible to keep the younger generations away from interacting with technology.
Ask any parent and their top worry is- “my kid is always on the phone or he doesn’t eat unless he watches his fav cartoon show.” Kid’s screen time is one of the most debated topics. How do you decide how much is too much? How does it impact their child’s behaviour and development? A lot of parents reach out to doctors and experts to get a piece of professional advice on the topic. Even the World Health Organization issues certain guidelines on how much time young kids should be investing in front of their screens.
One of the most highly discussed topics among parents today is how much screen time is perfect for the kids. And how does this screen time influence their development? Amid these growing questions, the World Health Organization issued certain guidelines the previous year on the ideal time that kids should be spending on their phones, laptops or other digital devices.
There is a growing concern about how technology affects children’s brains, bodies and cognitive and physical growth. The majority of societies and organizations working towards kids’ development have advocated putting a limitation on kids’ screen time. However, there is not enough robust research to back up the claim.
How Does Technology Affect Children’s Behavior & Social Skills?
There is no denying the fact that excessive use of technology during a kid’s formative years can have an impact on his or her growth. While some technology exposure is not bad for your kid, there are certain areas that are affected because of too much screen time.
Limits Critical Thinking
As we tend to immerse deeper into technology with each passing day, we see our kids spending more time glued to their phones, laptops or T.V. It’s no surprise that a lot of studies suggest a direct correlation between the increase in tech usage and decrease in daily reading time. This is backed by the fact that many text-based apps allow you to communicate within 140 characters thus limiting challenges to a kid’s critical thinking.
How can you overcome this?
Parents can define a limited screen time along with setting aside an hour every day to read from books, newspapers or journals, without any electronic device present. You can build conversations with your kids on general awareness topics. Interacting with them on their readings will help them develop a new perspective and they will be more interested in learning more.
Keeping an eye on your kid’s 24X7 is not easy and if you fear they might sneak out time to be on phones, it’s advised to introduce innovative and interactive apps or websites to your kids. Ask them to paint online, write an essay or frame a questionnaire on the latest news.
2. Reduces Attention Span and Imagination
With almost innumerable tech sources available around, it’s been noticed that children are often distracted and find it hard to focus on other activities when they have access to their favourite digital devices.
How to Keep it Intact?
To improve your kid’s cognitive skills and increase their attention span, it’s important to offer them the opportunity to delve into the old-fashioned imaginative plays and let them play with storybooks to run their imaginations. You can also work on their artistic skills with tech-inspired software that help them give shape to their imagination.
3. Puts Their Privacy and Safety at Risk
While you are worried about the impacts of technology on your kids’ cognitive and physical growth, be aware that the increased level of connectedness that technology offers us today can have a significant effect on your child’s privacy and safety. Then there is the risk of cyberbullying, which your child might be a victim of on social media pages or interactive forums that he/she participates into.
How to Make Sure Your Kids are Safe Online?
To keep a track of online activities that your child is indulging in is imperative to ensure that they aren’t involved in a virtual brawl or aren’t targeted by unwanted elements in the cyber world. You should also keep an open channel of communication with your kids to make them comfortable so that they can share any concerning conduct, they face online.
Technology is not a bane if used correctly. It has made our lives easier and has helped us learn so much more within short time frames. What makes it worse is the way how do you implement it. We often as adults indulge in some unwanted activities that we regret later on Kids are raw. They learn things by watching their environment. So, to ensure that your kids make the best use of technology, you need to keep your tech indulgence under check. Sit with them, read interesting articles with them. Encourage them to draw online. To sum up, here are a few pointers on how you can make the best use of technology to add to your kid’s wit and imagination.
● Stay informed about the latest digital trends that might interest your child.
● Keep an eye on what’s your kid is doing on the digital devices that he/she has access to.
● Push them to use their screen time for educational and informative games, paint classes, online discussions.
● Keep all communication channels open to discuss any issue your kids might face online.
● Go “digital-free” for a couple of minutes with your entire family.
● Participate in their imaginary play cooking shows, pottery classes, car races.
● Limit social media usage and set strict time for its usage.
We conducted some research on impact of child’s technology, here is a infographic we've collected from Statista.