10 Ways Smartphones Influence Kids’ Behavior

Almost every person on the planet has at least one smart device in their home and this is slowly starting to include children under the age of eleven.

Should they be having phones, and if so, how are they influencing them?

Siblings taking selfies


Over five billion people on the planet today own a smartphone probably because of the myriad of benefits they bring to their owners, which are now including younger children.

According to a Common Sense Media study by NPR, over half of the children under the age of eleven already own a smartphone, and concerned parents are now making an effort to determine the pros and cons of new technology on their younger children’s development.

The positive effects


Most parents’ first instinct will be to look at the potential hazards smartphones pose to their children, such as technology addiction. Still, it would be wrong to assume the benefits that smartphones bring to the young ones. These include:

1. They impact vital digital skills


Smartphones are miniature computers that equip their owners with robust digital skills that will come in handy later in their lives.

Such skills include research, communication, literacy, and others that will enhance their experience in high school and college.

2. Self-sufficiency


With guidance, smartphones can be the perfect tool for teaching self-regulation and time management.

Teachers can show them the importance of self-awareness and regulating the time they spend on their phones. These skills will be essential for them in teenage and early childhood.

3. Access to emergency services


In case of any emergency, children can quickly reach out to first responders or get help from an adult they trust.

This ability to reach help fast whenever necessary provides both children and parents with confidence and trust.

4. They can be used as educational technology and for unwinding

Education and technology


Smartphones are excellent forms of the best baby products and technology in the classroom, which a child can use to read their favorite stories for language and reading skills, then watch some cartoons after school.

If these activities are supervised, they can bring untold benefits for a child.

The negative effects of smartphones on young children


The adverse impact of smartphones and other forms of future technology on children has always been a hot issue among researchers, child psychologists, and media experts.

Many scholars and pediatric experts around the globe are looking into the impact of the use of devices with touch screens on children’s behavioral and physical development.

1. Possible impact on brain development


Studies have linked smartphone use at an early age to be an important factor in brain white matter development, attention span, motor skills, reading and communication, and comprehension abilities.

There is not sufficient pediatric data to provide a direct link. The possibility should still concern parents as the brain is usually developing rapidly at this age, using experiences and environments to form new neural connections every day.


2. Smart devices rob children of time play

Playing with the phone


Smartphones come with games, videos, music, and other items that can quickly preoccupy a child's time and mind.

Play is crucial for physical, mental, and social development, and a child who spends their time face down, tapping away may quickly find themselves unfit.

The ages between two and five are for exploration and inquisitiveness, getting around their environment, and asking questions.

With screens providing more stimulation than a child can handle, they may start living a sedentary life, which will have untold effects on their health due to obesity.

3. Poor psychosocial development


Children who use smartphones too much may lose touch with friends, and siblings, with experts suggesting that this lack of social contact with peers can inhibit language, emotional, and social development.

They may also have a difficult time with valuable skills like reading social cues, empathy, and politeness. These skills are important for a child to learn from a young age for optimal quality of life.

4. Impact on sleep


Smartphone and tablet screens emit blue light, a wavelength that interferes with the levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone in the body. Children that crawl into their beds with phones are therefore at a higher risk of a disturbed circadian rhythm, causing insufficient rest for them.

5. Lower psychological wellbeing


Children who spend more than an hour scrolling through social media sites may experience lower emotional wellbeing.

This can be attributed to the avenue that social media provides for cyberbullying and comparison among peers, which often goes unreported.

6. Exposure to media of a violent, misleading, or sexual nature


Often, children can find themselves on channels or sites that expose them to graphic media, and false, indoctrinating videos.

An example of how serious the situation can get is when a child attempted to murder his friend after interacting with the Slenderman Urban Legend online.

Conclusion


The benefits of smartphone usage, especially in the age of technology in education, cannot be ignored, as the world today is becoming more digital with time.

However, research has linked kids and technology with possible behavioral and physical anomalies, which means that parents have to ensure that children use their smartphones responsibly.

Responsible smartphone consumption is the only way to enjoy the benefits of smartphone technology while keeping its associated hazards at bay.

Do you have any contributions, queries, or comments? Please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Bio

Betti Wilson is a huge tech fan with an interest in how smartphones affect us, especially our brains. Considering that these phones are the first and last thing most of us see every day, it is about time we took a step back and reflected on what they may be doing to us.

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