It’s no secret that there are many beneficial uses for technology, especially considering how much of our life is now handled remotely. Children are now learning, socializing, and playing through a screen.
But too much screen time has been found to impact brain development, especially in younger children. When it comes to the never-ending tech debate, it can be easy to find yourself fighting for either side. So how do we balance the scale?
The learning opportunities are endless. Your child can attend school and meet with their class through web conferencing, right in the comfort of their own home. They can use apps and games to learn a new language.
They can learn to collaborate with others and build projects in a way that can help better prepare them for work in the real world someday. It also allows them to experience trial-and-error and problems solving while receiving feedback on their hard work.
It encourages quicker thinking. The growing use of technology during childhood development has been shown to re-wire how our brains think. In fact, it’s been shown that the use of the internet has helped us scan information more rapidly, and this leads to more efficient synaptic thinking.
Technology can keep them occupied. While it’s always best to encourage your child to play outside or with others, sometimes you’ve got work to do and need to keep them nearby and safely within your field of vision. There’s no harm in letting your kids kick back with a few videos so you can get some work done, but the key here is moderation and clear set boundaries.
Technology negatively impacts social skills. Most importantly, it can hinder the development of their communication skills. Instead of picking up on nonverbal cues, facial expressions, and body language, they are more likely to turn to texting because, frankly, that’s what they have access to. This can affect their listening skills, eye contact, and even their sense of empathy.
Screen time is linked to poor sleep. Children who spend more time than others on technology have been shown to get less sleep. They take longer to fall asleep and end up clocking fewer hours. And to top it off, the sleep they do get tends to be shoddy quality. To keep your child’s dreams happy, be sure to limit their screen time, especially before bed, and avoid tablet use in very young children altogether.
It comes with health risks. The more time spent online, the less active children tend to be. When your child opts for online games instead of running and playing outside, they are at a greater risk for weight gain and childhood obesity. These can lead to more serious health problems over time.
The Bottom Line
There are both good and bad sides to using technology, but it can greatly benefit your child’s life as long as you don’t let it become harmful. It’s also an opportunity for you to set a good example for your child. Instead of mindless scrolling, use it for informative, educational purposes. Avoid screen time before bed. Consider placing limits or parental controls on how much time can be used on specific apps. And above all else, set guidelines to keep your child safe. Whether they’re surfing, scrolling, or streaming, it’s important that you keep an eye on their whereabouts and limit their tech-usage as needed. At the end of the day, the most important thing is finding balance.