The cons of mobile devices and kids: Why we need to think long and hard about this
As we speak, the debate about technology and its role in society rages on unabated. Like all developments, there are some good things, and indeed some not so good things that come along as part of lifestyle choices. Moreover, when you throw kids and technology together, and more specifically, tablets, mobile phones, there’s plenty to mull over.
In this piece, we’ve put together some thoughts on why we should be a bit wary about just handing over mobile devices to kids at developing and impressionable ages on a whim – here they are
1. Making all the wrong shapes
The sedentary lifestyle plays merry hell with our health and wellbeing and you’d be less surprised to learn that kids aren’t spared this either. Therefore, having a mobile device as an extension of their bodies all their waking hours does them few favors. Now, without trying to be a scaremongering voice here, but rather one of reason, it does bear repeating that kids should instead be encouraged to spend more time outdoors or take up music, dance, art sports, and more.
2. Health Concerns
The WHO has classified cell phone radiation as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans.’ The classification is particularly concerning for children as such radiations penetrate their brain approx 60 percent more deeply than that of an adult. In another finding, Spanish neurodiagnostic research institute quoted that a phone call lasting a couple of minutes can affect the natural electrical activity of a child’s brain for up to one hour afterward, interfering with the child’s learning ability.
3. Living in the bubble
Now, when kids spend long hours on a mobile device, there’s an innate and inescapable dependence on the tablet or phone. It’s easy to understand why – the apps, videos, games and other content out there are crafted and fine-tuned to keep kids glued to the device for hours on end. Soon enough, this becomes their reality, and they live in that bubble. The fearful thing we have to contend with is that their reality is simply no match for our shared reality, and given the choice, they most always will reach for the escape of a mobile device.
4. Relationship regression
It goes without saying that kids pick up behavioral patterns at a fairly young age and that they find it difficult to shake this off in later life. Why would overuse or the overexposure to mobile devices be any different? When this happens, kids shun interactions with family, friends and everyone else. This leads to emotional stunting and disorientated young adults, and could also be a stumbling block on the path to creating meaningful relationships.
5. Imagination killer
As we’re sure to admit, a mobile device is a great media consumption tool. In fact, it hands it all to you on a plate – demanding little or no involvement. When kids get used to this early on, they’ve force-fed excitement, entertainment, and experiences, and lose out on creating and crafting things for themselves. Think about it, why would you want to be creative, when what you’ve got in front of you is utterly immersive, hypnotic, and mesmerizing?
At this point, we must admit that simply taking devices out of their lives isn’t probably the ideal thing to do. Even further, why not give children the best of both worlds by moderating and regulating their the use of these devices?
In the interest of balance and neutrality on the subject, we’ve handily put together reasons why mobile devices are good for your kids, and you can find that piece here.