Think Twice Before Handing Your Child a Smartphone
We are in the age of technology. Meaning, now more than ever, we have instant access to entertainment through our handheld tiny computers that we call cell phones or smart devices. Not only do adults have 24-hour access to these devices, but children are now being given these gadgets at younger and younger ages. While smart devices can help keep our children quietly entertained for hours, the problem is that this creates life long problems.
Research is constantly being published on the dangers of smartphones, here are just a few alarming statistics on the negative long term damage they may be having on you and your children:
It’s Addicting - For adults and children alike these tiny computers are addicting. The brain begins to crave usage. Think about it, how many times a day do you grab your phone to simply mindlessly scroll through Facebook or just simply pick it up to check it? For most of us, this number is quite alarming.
Poor Sleep Quality - “short-wavelength-enriched” blue light from our phones is one of the biggest reasons behind poor sleep quality. It makes the brain feel awake and causes a stress response which directly affects sleep.
Poor Posture - Holding the cell phone down so we can easily view the screens is causing poor posture which is characterized by forwarding rolling shoulders, a forward jutting chin, and rounded forward neck. These postural issues can cause aches and pain, but can also lead to long term damage.
Self Worth - Due to the ability to have constant visibility into pop-culture and being able to see what everyone is up to, this is simply toxic when it comes to feelings of self-worth, depression, and anxiety.
Increased Risk of Cancer - Research shows that electromagnetic radiation emitted by smartphones gets absorbed in the tissues when we hold the phone for longer times. Our children’s nervous systems are still developing and, therefore, they have a greater risk of developing brain cancer from cell phones than adults.
Shorter Attention Span - Due to the instant gratification and the constant ability to jump to one exciting app to the next, our children’s attention spans are suffering. More and more children are being diagnosed with attention disorders and the cause might be sitting right in their hands.
Smartphone Safety Tips
Limit Smart Device Time - Be mindful of your own and your child’s smart device usage. Children should not have 24-hour access to these devices and it is recommended to limit their total screen time to 1-2 hours daily, this would include all screens including television.
Monitor Their Usage - Set up parental controls and monitor what your children are doing and seeing when they are utilizing their limited daily screen time.
Keep Them Busy in Other Ways - Keep your children busy with other healthier options such as enrolling them in a fun active after school program.
Introduce Non-Screen Activities - Remind your children that entertainment does not have to mean viewing a screen. Break out the board games, crayons, puzzles, etc.!
Remember, that making these changes might include some additional stress, especially if your child is accustomed to having unlimited screen time currently. However, these changes help to create healthy life long champions!