Addiction To Gadgets? Maybe We Should Be Limiting The Use Of These ‘Digital Babysitters’

Posted: January 28, 2016

Parents often let gadgets act as babysitters, and as a result, many children suffer from an addiction to gadgets. Maybe we should be limiting the use of gadgets by kids?

A toddler holding a tablet or a baby holding an i-phone is a sight that we see often nowadays. Puzzles, books, balls are no longer the standard toys among today’s children. They all have been pushed down the ladder by these so called ‘digital babysitters’.

A recent research reveals that touch screens have taken over from all other forms of play options for kids. It is alarming to know that children are spending almost 7 ½ hours staring at these screens!.

I think this addiction to gadgets is deeply affecting the social and personal skills of our kids. When they spend long hours staring at the screens, they tend to give less focus to what is happening around them. Most of them are missing their essential sleep too. This sleep deprivation can make them bad-tempered and aggressive!

Another important finding is that children who overdo TV/tablets/smartphones, are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a variety of attention span disorders. It is the action packed, stimulating and instantly rewarding nature of the electronic media that make the kids glued to it. And when they adapt to those speeds, they struggle to pay attention to the slower pace of life (comparatively) because it is less stimulating and feels less rewarding! This is why, when they put down their gadgets, their brain finds the real-world underwhelming compared to their virtual realms.

I do agree that technology helps young minds to learn a lot of things, but we shouldn’t forget that our kids have other skills to master before these shiny gadgets monopolize their lives.

As much as we love technology and the fact that it helps us to advance both as an individual and as a society, if not used properly, it can alienate us from others. In extreme cases, it can even hinder our kid’s physical and psychological development. No matter how amazing gadgets are, they surely cannot substitute for our real world surroundings!

Are these gadgets the problem, or are they challenges put forth in parenting?

Rather than looking it as an problem, I think we need to see it as an challenge! As parents, our guidance is crucial in making sure that our kids don’t suffer from gadget fatigue and stress, and limit their gadget use.

And that doesn’t necessarily mean we should completely take away these gadgets from their lives. As the saying goes, the more we avoid the more the urge to do. They should have the privilege of enjoying the fun, but at the same time, we should make them understand that there is a time for everything, and everything has its own limits.

Let me share my thoughts and personal experience with my kids (a toddler and an 8 year old) in balancing virtual and real world experiences.

  • Get them involved in art and craft activities. Coloring or painting is an easiest way to make them sit. Since I do blogging, when I sit to write, I give them also a piece of paper n pencil, so that they too start scribbling. And that’s how; my 8 year old has picked up interest in writing.
  • Involve them in gardening, watering plants. Make them plant a tree/ flowering plant. This can create an interest in them to get involved in its growth. Since our garden invites lots of birds, we have even kept a bird feeder which has made my daughter spend time watching birds.
  • Let them play outdoors. If they do not have a chance to play with peers, riding a bicycle or taking a walk makes them refreshed.
  • Introduce them to books. Inculcating reading habits at an early stage gives them a great source of knowledge, of happiness, of pleasure and even moral courage. Make them understand that reading is more pleasurable than those freaky gadgets!

If these work with my kids, won’t that work with yours too?

Image source: addiction to gadgets by Shutterstock.

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