Smart phones, tablet, phablet, i-phone, i-pad, Facebook, Whatsapp…. It is hard to imagine our lives without these words today. The menace of Techno-Invasion in our daily lives cannot be overstated, but when it comes to children the problem appears even more alarming. Kids these days have become relatively more tech-savvy, which has also affected their behavior pattern.
A recent research conducted by ‘Kaiser Foundation’ revealed that children are using technology way beyond the permitted limits, which results in deadly mishaps more often than not, like road accidents.
When we talk about deleterious effects of technology-dependency, it’s not limited only to the kids who drive, but has also been observed amongst kids as young as 2 years of age, who can lay their hands upon these gadgets.
According to Dr. Fran Walfish, a family psychotherapist from Los Angeles, “We have a lot of 2-year-olds using tablets now, and I see 3 and 4-year-olds that are already addicted”. Dr Walfish also adds “It’s mind-blowing and a little scary.”
We have put together a small list of possible consequences of technology overuse, take a look.
1. It Can Create A Lack Of Trust In A Parent-Child Relationship
The first 2 years in the life of an infant is the time when its brain undergoes vital metamorphosis. This phase is responsible for the development of its sensory abilities, and also the bond-formation between parents and a child is at its nascent stage.
Excessive usage of gadgets by a toddler alters its neural pathways in a way that stunts its mental growth.
According to pediatric nurse Denise Daniels “Their neural pathways change and different ones are created”. She further added “It affects concentration, self-esteem, in many cases they don’t have as deeply personal relationships.”
2. This Is Where Addiction Takes Its First Roots
Expressing his opinion on the tech-savvy nature of today’s kids, Dr. Gary Small said “One of the wonderful things with this technology is that there’s always something new you can do — it’s almost infinite,”. “For that very reason, it’s very difficult to give up and stop using them.” added Dr. Small, who teaches psychiatry at the ‘UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior’.
Availability of things at the touch of a button, slowly yet steadily, hardwires their psyche into obstinacy. This in turn gives birth to an impulsive behavior at best and a criminal mindset at worst.
3.Gives Rise To Unruly Behavior In Kids
It’s a common sight to find people offering some gadget or the other to pacify their kids throwing tantrums. Little do they realize that this seemingly harmless practice can lead to the development of an obsessive behavior in kids.
“If these devices become the predominant method to calm and distract young children, will they be able to develop their own internal mechanisms of self-regulation?” questions Dr. Jenny Radesky, slamming the nature in which parents pacify their kids these days.
4.Damaging Effects On The Sleep-Pattern
A prolonged exposure to smartphones can have a detrimental effect on the eyes of a youngster. The light emitted by a smartphone damages the sleep hormone, Melatonin, quite substantially, resulting in sleep deprivation which further adversely affects a person’s health.
“It seems that use of these devices in the evening before bedtime really has this negative impact on our sleep and on your circadian rhythms,” said Anne-Marie Chang, who is a neuroscientist by profession.
Going by a study conducted by Boston College, 60 percent of the parents fail to keep a check on their wards’ excessive phone-usage. The research also revealed that 75 percent of the kids were allowed to use phones in their bedrooms, ending up sleep-deprived, which is one of the prime reasons behind their falling grades at school.
5.Learning Faculties Take A Massive Hit
Scientific researches weigh down in favor of ill-effects of smart-phones on youngsters. They have shown that the over-dependence on technology stunts the thinking ability and limits creative imagination, which is crucial for their intellectual growth.
“These devices also may replace the hands-on activities important for the development of sensorimotor and visual-motor skills, which are important for the learning and application of math and science,” said Jenny Radesky, MD, who works as a clinical instructor in the department of ‘Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics’ at the esteemed ‘Boston University’.
Videogames too are not far behind, in terms of the way they damage the motor and optical sensory development of a child.
6.Results In Socially-Insensitive Demeanor
Human being is a social animal, and it’s vital for him/her to be sensitive towards others’ feelings while communicating with them. But with the advent of the Internet, face-to-face interactions are losing steam and are quite literally, on the cusp of extinction. Kids, in particular, are victims of this gizmo-onslaught. Due to the lack of socializing, kids tend to be rude and insensitive, not intentionally though since they can’t see the person reacting, towards others’ feelings and emotions which undoubtedly make them less human.
“These are all fundamental to establishing human relationships. And they’re all missing with most forms of modern technology,” says psychologist Jim Taylor. “Kids are spending so much time communicating through technology that they’re not developing basic communication skills that humans have used since forever. Communication is not just about words.”
7.Kids Risk Developing Mental-Complex
Unhindered access to the content available online usually leaves the kids feeling bad about themselves, which, if went unchecked, develops into a psychic complex.
Cyber-bullying takes a huge toll on their young impressionable minds as well.
Some common health impacts experienced by the youngsters are attention-deficit disorder, anxiety, psychosis etc.
8.Leads To Increased Body-Mass Index And Associated Issues
Technology-dependent kids are found to be leading a sedentary lifestyle that results in obesity due to reduced mobility and virtually zero-movement of body parts.
Obesity brings along other health implications like diabetes, heart-stroke etc.
Experts believe that the present generation might not outlive their parents due to obesity, thanks to their technology infested lifestyle.
9.Results In A Violent-Mindset
Due to their lack of face-to-face social interaction, kids tend to grow indifferent towards others’ sentiments and emotions. A lot of it could be attributed to the violent graphics used in many present-day videogames that tend to project violence as an essential part of human-psyche.
Another reason that rightly deserves a mention in this context is Cyber-bullying, which inflicts painful wounds on kids’ collective psyche, post which the mental trauma that they undergo, desensitizes them towards their peers and elders alike.
10.Heightens Anxiety Among Kids
Modern-day kids end up spending a major chunk of their time on the internet, resulting in reduced peer-to-peer interactions, which further results in sub-standard social skills.
“Technology should make communication easier when it’s appropriate,” Dr. Kate Roberts, a Boston-based school psychologist says. “But when we have access (to more direct forms of communication), we don’t use it. Part of it is just that it’s human nature to avoid. It’s easier.”
We must find a way out to wean them off their gadget-ridden misery and make them have more human-to-human interactions in order to give their lives a human-touch.
“Kids need that face-to-face time,” Denise Daniels says. “If you abbreviate your emotions with technology, you’re living an abbreviated life.”
11.Kids get exposed to online-obscenity.
By no means can the issue of growing gender insensitivity be denied its share of concerned attention. Kids get exposed to a copious amount of unrestricted explicit content online which corrupts their psyche unimaginably and creates a male-female divide.
Morality, among kids, goes for a toss which eventually results in eccentric sexual behavior.
According to a survey, by the time a toddler enters the age of 5 or 6 he/she becomes sexually aware about himself/herself and the online-contents he/she gets exposed to, distorts their sense of gender sensitivity.