Most parents in our country are not aware of the bad effects a smartphone can have on a child. Often in restaurants and shopping malls, kids are seen gawking into the screens of their smartphones like zombies. Most often parents give their phones to the kids to distract them or to have a personal time of their own. In rural areas too, children from an early age get addicted to smartphones.
Many people think using smartphones from an early age will make their kids smarter and more adaptive to modern technology. But there are serious consequences too. Using smartphones from an early age doesn’t only disrupt the natural cognitive and physical growth, it also unsettles the normal human relationships. Here are some serious affects that early smartphone usage can cause.
1. Affects the relationship of parents and children: Between the ages of 0 and 2 years, an infant’s brain triples in size. A parent’s voice, touch, and affection can help build trails in their brain that help them in learning to bond emotionally with other people.
But the children, who spend too much time interacting with a smartphone, do not develop neural pathways which are responsible to create strong relationships. It also effects their self-esteem and concentration levels.
2. Sleep deprivation: The light that radiates from a screen subdues the sleep hormone, and shifts the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. It is estimated that 60 percent of parents do not supervise their child’s technology usage. Because of this, 75 percent of children aged 9 and 10 years are sleep-deprived to the extent that their grades go down, according to Boston College.
3. Makes kids aggressive: Because kids can’t learn empathy when overusing devices, they are much more comfortable being callous online, and being cyber-bullied almost feels normal to a lot of kids.
There is also a huge variety of violent video games that might deaden kids towards violence. This mainstreaming of aggression prompts kids to think that violent behavior is simply a normal way to deal and solve problems.
4. Opportunities for earlier exposure to nude images: According to a study reported by CNN.com, 1 in 6 kids aged between 12 to 17 have received sexually explicit texts and photos on their cell phones. Often such images send kids into shock and disrupt their mental growth.
5. Obesity and health issues: Most of the kids nowadays pass their time playing games or watching movies on their computers or phones. Less physical activity causes early weight gain. Thirty percent of children with obesity or more weight develop diabetes.
Obese individuals are at higher risk for early stroke and heart attack. Some experts even believe that 21st-century children may be the first generation that will not outlive their parents due to obesity and high use of tech devices.