People use their phones excessively. How many times today have you scrolled through social media, checked the weather, watched a video or read an interesting article? Do you find yourself scrolling through social media just to ‘kill’ time while waiting in line?
New technological inventions are taking over the world, as science is developing more and more every day. In every corner, there’s information waiting to be spread. If we don’t want to leave our house, we can still talk to our friends through our cell phones.
It is easy to blame younger generations and Millennials for being addicted to cell phones and computers, but let’s be honest, it is not rare to see older generations scrolling their new phones and using apps. What is different is that older generations and older Millennials clearly remember the times without computers, the Internet, and smartphones.
Many of us do not wonder how technology affects us, our mental health, and well-being. Recently, the same question is asked about children- how technology affects their development. They are born in a world that doesn’t work without tablets, computers, and smartphones.
Excessive Screen Time May Cause Behavioral Problems
Adults may experience a negative impact on their physical and mental health as a result of spending too much time on the Internet. The same goes for children. The ones, who aren’t putting the phone down, may have difficulties in many aspects of their lives. A new study at the University of Michigan suggests that screen time can impact the health and development of children.
Parents are the best role model for their children. They, who spend most of the time on their laptops, smartphones, or even watching TV, tend to communicate less and have more interrupted relationships with their young ones. Children may become frustrated and less wanted and may act out if they want to get their parents’ attention.
The Study Reveals The Relation Between Children’s Behavior And Parental Technology Use
In this study, 170 two-parent homes with children over the age of 3 were examined. Parents were asked questions about their technology usage habits. The main questions are: how often, how they use them, and how long they use their phones. The study focused most on spending time online or texting during meals and playtime.
Parents were also questioned about their children’s behavior. They needed to report whether their children oddly behaved or were irritable and grumpy within two months before the study. Researchers were informed about family income, stress, anxiety, education, and other possible factors. In the end, they examined the relationship between children and their parents.
The study results showed that there is a correlation between child behavior and parental technology use. However, further research is needed to be done to define these relations. When it comes to children’s behavior, the mother plays the most important role.
How Does Too Much Screen Time Affect Other Health Aspects?
Besides bad behavior, too much screen time may impact the person in many negative ways. Some of them include:
Eye health and vision problems
Mental health problems such as depression
Learning difficulties and slow brain development
Brain developmental and learning difficulties
Musculoskeletal problems resulting from poor posture
High risk of diabetes
Disturbed sleeping cycle
Even though technology may have a negative impact on all humanity, it is still beneficial for our world. We cannot avoid technology even if we want to. People need to learn how to use technology mindfully to protect children, especially their development, and create a safe world for everyone.
If you want to prevent the negative effects of technology, follow our suggestions:
Shorten screen time for the whole family. That includes parents too. Make new rules and be ready to follow them. Try to spend as much time with your children through play or communication.
Stop using phones at the dinner table. No matter if its dinner or lunch, leave the phone somewhere else. Lunch and dinner are the most important gatherings of the family, so enjoy them, talk to them, laugh, and connect.
Pick activities first. Watching a movie on Netflix or other platforms is fun and relaxing. Sometimes you feel too tired and distract your kids with cartoons, or organize a movie night, which can be a fun way to spend the evening. However, through other activities, you allow actual interaction which will create a better connection. Instead of a movie, play board games, dominos, or you can even do crafts, draw, and color. Choose to play with Legos, or go for an evening walk.
Go outside for a few hours. Try spending more time in nature. It is beneficial for everyone’s health. For example, play catch at your backyard, go for a hike or visit the local park. For the ones living in a big city, exploring the concrete jungle is more fun than spending hours searching the Internet. If you are a person full of adrenaline, try trampoline gym or other sports. Visit a museum, go bowling, and make sure your phones are turned off to spend more quality time.
Consider putting your phone on airplane mode. Even if you are not traveling, disconnecting from the virtual world is a great idea. Do not load yourself with information that isn’t needed. You don’t have to see every post or news update. Put your phone on silent mode if you are helping your children with homework, or if it’s nighttime.
These suggestions will help you to connect more to your loved ones and decrease the negative impact of technology.