Technology has played a big role in changing the way our children learn, get entertained, how they interact with friends, it has impacted their level of creativeness, and how they behave in society. Today’s children use more technology compared to kids in 1990. Many technological companies are inventing technological tools for kids. Technology has both positive and negative impacts on our children. As much as technology has changed the way our kids learn or entertain themselves, it has also affected their ability to learn and have real entertainment with their friends. It is not bad to give our children technological tools like ipads, video games, computers, etc, but it is our role as parents to guide them on how to use this technology and also set limits on when to use specific technological tools.
Internet technology and video games have become addictive to so many children. Many kids have become victims of internet predators and others have become video game addicts, which leaves them with no time to interact with other children and this has resulted in increased cases of loneliness and depression among children. The most common technologies used by children include: Video games, Smartphones, Television, Computers, Tablets, Internet, social networks, chatting services, calculators and much more. Let’s look at some of the negative effects of technology on children and also debate on what parents can do to reduce the negative effects of technology on their children:
Effects of technology on children:
- Screen time can make a kid fat : Children who spend more time watching television, playing video games, using computers often spend less time exercising and such children tend to eat a lot snacks which deposit fat in their bodies. Since they do less movement and exercises, this fat accumulates in the body and the child will slowly become obeast. Obesity can result in diseases like heart failure, depression, diabetes and these diseases can be expensive to treat.
How to prevent this:
Parents can create schedules for their children to assure they do something during the day to exercise their bodies. To avoid trouble, make sure you do not ban then from using technology, because if you do this, these kids will find a way to use the tech tools in secret which can even be more harmful. As a parent, get involved in their lives, have physical fun with them as a trick of distracting them from watching television or play video games all day. One of the main reasons why children spend more time with technology is because parents are too busy to spend time with their kids. Go swimming, play table tennis or football, take a walk in the park with them, play with pets, ride a bike with them, create entertaining physical competitions at home to make them active but happy, dedicate house work to them so that they do not have to wait for the nanny to do most of the work and much more….the main goal is to find creative ways to distract your child from technology to his benefit.
- Weakens the relationship between kids and their parents: Since most parents have less time with their children because they have to work, kids have replaced their parents with technology. Dad or Mom will come back late from work and they will have less time to chat or play with the kid. So at the end of the day, the child will find comfort in playing video games, watching television, chatting with friends on facebook, visiting weird harmful websites online, etc. At the end of the day, these kids also consult the internet or online strangers for help if a need arises and this too can expose them to some wrong information which can result in problems.
How to prevent this:
Parents should spend more time with their kids after work; create a strong bond between you and your kids, so that they feel free to ask you anything. So even when they read something on the internet they will consult you about its validity.
Persuasive advertisements online expose them to risks: Kids who use the internet often are exposed to persuasive ads which might entice them to engage in some risky behaviors. Now days, we have so many video and humor sites created for adult entertainment, however, your kids can just Google the site and get exposed to this material. Risk behaviors like drug use, drinking, unprotected sex are promoted on such sites, so a kid will think that what they see is good for their lives since others are doing it.
How to prevent this?
Parents should note their children behaviors both online and offline. In most cases kids do what they see, so as a parent, you can block access to certain websites which might be harmful to your kids. If you don’t have the technical experience, you can use a technician to help you on this. Make sure that your kids are meeting their obligations both at school and at home.
- Poor social skills: Many kids are spending most of their time playing video games, watching television and using social networks like facebook, the more time they spend using these technologies, the more time they spend alone. So they get little time to socialize with their peers. If a child has poor social skills, they will find it hard to deal with people when they grow up and this can be harmful to their lives and careers in the long run. People who are not social find it hard to mix with society and in most cases they surfer from depression, which in a lot of cases results in committing suicide.
How to prevent this?
Parents should take their kids to play with others at least one – twice a week, encourage your kids to make friends while at school and tell them to invite their friends home so that you can know who they spend their time with. Learn more about Children Addicted to Computer Games – Top Ten Tips for Parents or you can also read about Kids & Technology: The Developmental Health Debate