Our world today is at the topmost peak of technological advancement. Just like a coin that has two sides, technology is both a blessing and a curse. The fact is, technology, especially smartphones, has made our life too easier that we somehow become desperately dependent on it. Kids belong to the high risk category of this kind of addiction and it changes the way they think, influences their behaviour, and transforms their very life. And, that is why it is highly important to reduce smartphone addiction in kids.
If technology can manipulate grown-ups in such a huge way, then imagine how this will affect the little ones? Children like to spend plenty of time in front of mobile phones. But, nobody can blame them. After all, we, grown-ups, often do that ourselves. At times, ‘a little too much time’ becomes ‘far too much time’, this becomes a habit, and a habit later turns out into addiction.
What Are the Signs Suggesting that Your Child is a Phone Addict?
Living in a virtual world can cause difficulties in children’s social lives outside the home. When your children become so much immersed in the online world, they begin to lose interest in real-life activities. Sometimes, they might even try to avoid face-to-face contact with their friends and relatives because of the digital interaction on messaging apps and social media.
When a situation comes where your kids appear happy only when they are spending time in front of smartphones, then understand that he/she is becoming a smartphone addict. Try using parenting control apps, spot the problems at the early stages, and reduce smartphone addiction in your kids.
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How to Reduce Smartphone Addiction in Kids?
Electronic screens are so alluring that it’s difficult for a child to turn into something else—thus, the child can easily become the victim of smartphone addiction. Here are some easy tips that you can follow up to reduce smartphone addiction in kids.
- Keep your child engaged
With shrinking or no play spaces, children are forced to stay indoors. As a result, they get hooked to gadgets like smartphones. To prevent this, take your child out to the park or to a nearby playground.
This allows him/her to spend time running and playing, thus reducing the use of smartphones. If that is not an option, enrol your kids in a neighbourhood sports club.
- Restrict smartphone use
Since mobile phones have become an inseparable part of our lives, it is challenging to keep them away from kids. Sooner or later, your children may begin using your mobile phone.
Therefore, make sure to make your child understand that he/she can use your smartphone, but only for a short and limited time. Never allow them to use mobile phones during mealtimes, study hours, playtime, or bedtime.
- Talk to your child
The vibrant colours and animations appearing on the smartphone screen tend to be attractive to children. Talk to them and make them understand about the harmful effects of mobile phone use.
- Set passwords
There are times when you won’t be able to spend time running around your child to make them stop using smartphones. In such a situation, set a password on your phone so that your kids can’t use it while you are not around. This is one of the best ways to reduce smartphone addiction in your children.
- Be a role model for your kids
Grown-ups spend a lot of time on their mobile phones. In such cases, advising kids not use might not help, as they tend to follow in their parents’ footsteps. So, always be a good role model for your kids by limiting your mobile phone usage.
If your profession demands continuous mobile usage, make sure that you do it away from your child.
- Build a rapport:
It is vital to take the time out for bonding activities with your children and build rapport with them. Try playing board games or engage your child along with you in activities such as gardening. This will surely keep them away from smartphones. You can also encourage your child to pursue hobbies like listening to music, reading or painting.
A smartphone is a double-edged sword in the world of advanced technology. The technological power of the smartphone is tremendous and it is quite a learning tool for children as well.
But, restricting their usage hours and keeping things in moderation goes a long way in making sure children’s well-being and inculcating good behavioural habits in them.
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Adverse Effects of Mobile Addiction in Kids
Continued use and exposure of smartphones can have harmful effects on the children such as:
According to the World Health Organization, mobile phone radiation can cause cancer. The effects of mobile phone radiation could be different on children from that of adults. This is because the children are in a stage where their bodies are undergoing changes and growth.
Children who have a tendency to use smartphones for extended time periods, keeping them close to their ears, will have more chance of developing non-malignant tumors, especially in the ear and brain regions.
The bones, tissues, and protective linings of organs such as the brain, are very thin in the kids. Therefore, these organs end up absorbing beyond 60% radiation that is emitted from mobile phones. This radiation can have adverse effects on the human body. Sometimes, it may directly affect the nervous system too.
- Mental health
Those children who are active social media users often come in contact with cyberbullies. Many of them only admit this after the mental damage has already been done. Social media also has the power to induce depression and anxiety.
- Disturbed Brain Activities
Mobile phones basically function on electromagnetic waves for all forms of communication. The human brain has its own electrical impulses, and the communication process is carried out in the neural network.
In children, the waves from the phones easily penetrate into the internal parts of the brain. Even if a child talks in a phone for just 2 minutes, the electrical activity inside his/her brain can be changed.
This unusual activity causes a change in mood patterns and behavioural tendencies. Therefore children may have trouble learning new things or focusing properly.
- Sleep Disruption
Children may stay up late playing games or scroll through social media. This can cause fatigue and restlessness. Lack of sleep disrupts their academic life, as kids become too sleepy to concentrate on what is taught at school.