Category: Health Care

Negative Effects of Excessive Gadget Use in Children

Dyana Macalino   September 27, 2018

These days, it is a common sight to see babies and toddlers in their strollers playing with tablets and young children on smartphones. Though computers provide a good distraction in keeping kids quiet and happy, there exists a hidden danger when children are exposed to these gadgets for too long.


Eye strains


Staring at an LCD screen for hours on end is not good for the eyes, especially for corneas that are still developing in kids. Though they learn a lot from educational websites and mobile apps, the potential eye damage caused by looking too long at a screen should be considered. Blurred vision, fatigue, headaches, myopia, and dry eyes are just a few examples. So how can this be prevented? Monitor the use of children with their gadgets. Provide a time limit and make sure they use their devices in a well-lit room and not in a dark room with a bright screen.



Hearing problems


This is a common issue for kids who love to use music players and watch videos on tablets. Though not necessarily a problem, children tend to listen to music at a higher volume and can do this for hours. This can result in hearing loss or nerve damage to the ears. A good alternative to earphones would be to get them loud speakers set at a reasonable volume so that the sounds are not focused on their ears when they listen to music or watch videos



Posture


As kids, we were often told to sit straight and avoid slouching. As gadgets are popular with the youth, we can see most of their backs are hunched over instead of sitting straight. Wrist and hand pains are also a common problem when proper typing positions are not enforced. Thumb pains are a result of too much swiping and bending at odd angles when using gadgets while lying down on the bed. The solution? When you see your kids leaning while on their laptops and smartphones, correct their posture. Let them use a mouse instead of a laptop trackpad to prevent straining their wrists.



Solutions


Though this is not to say that technology has a bad thing. In moderation, children can reap the benefits but adults should monitor and put a limit to how much screen time kids should get in a day. Below are some alternatives to gadgets that kids like will enjoy and tips to remember when letting them use electronics.


Encourage them to participate in exercise by signing them up for a sports class, schedule a playdate with some friends, or let them see their friends and play basketball, badminton, or another game in a safe space.

Do not let them use gadgets before bed. Blue light emitted from screens will affect their sleep cycle and make it difficult to sleep at night.

Buying educational toys for babies and toddlers will reduce their exposure to screens. Rattles, soft toys, teethers, plastic rings, and stuffed animals are good alternatives to iPads and smartphones. It enhances cognitive abilities and fine motor skills in their developing years.

Teach them new skills like cooking and cleaning. Kids may protest since this doesn’t seem like a fun alternative compared to playing mobile apps but they will learn new skills which can make them more productive.

Put a curfew on your internet. Set a time limit and turn off the wifi at a specific time each day. This will discourage them from using gadgets when they cannot browse their social media or use the internet.


Dyana Macalino

Dyana Macalino is a writer and editor specialist in health, lifestyle
and food. Follow her at @DyanaMacalino



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