Ipads, Tablets, Iphones, Androids, Pokemon Go, TV, and any other thing linked to a screen may not be the best for your child. The ability to communicate, concentrate, show attention, conduct social skills and other abilities are being harmed.
We have all been witness to the below scenarios in public and some of us have even done them ourselves.
- Busy parents trying to get their kids to calm down in the grocery store. What do they do? They shove their phone in their face, and the kid automatically calms down.
- On the phone with someone in the car, and the children are in the back asking 47 questions or fighting with a sibling. You throw the kid proof Ipad in the back, and all is quiet for your telephone call.
- Go over to a friend’s house on a beautiful day. You walk in the house, and the kids are glued to the … (TV, Computer, Cell phone or tablets)
If you have not witnessed this or you are not guilty of this, then you can stop reading this article now……
Yes, you are guilty of this in some way. I know, I know you do a better job at this than all your friends do. I said the same thing so that is why I am writing this. I wanted to know what the experts are saying about all the screens our kids are consuming mostly in the name of “Education”.
So, I did some research and found some shocking things that have quiet frankly scared me, and we are going to make some changes around the house.
To start off a 2010 Study says “The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.” That was 6 years ago. Imagine what the numbers are now with all the advancement and spread of technology.
Why do we need to keep our kids off the screens?
Our FOCUS Is Going Down The TUBES.
Our digital lifestyles, which include frequent multitasking, may be harming our ability to remain focused.
Media multitasking is very common among children and adults, even though there is ongoing concern over how it affects our abilities to pay attention and avoid distraction.
A 2010 study of 8- to 18-year-olds found that young people were engaging in media multitasking for 29 percent of their overall media use, fitting over 10 hours of media use into 7.5 hours of their days.
Read that again….10 hours of media in 7.5 hours. Seriously? That is huge.
Another study of 263 middle school, high school, and university students found that students studied for fewer than six minutes before switching to another technological distraction, such as texting or social media
Multitasking may decrease productivity because users take time to reorient after a transition to a different activity and become mentally fatigued from the effort, which slows their rate of work.
Hurting Relationships In The Home
A Source of Tension for Parents and Children
For example, screens cause a source of tension for parents and children.+ In an international online survey of 6,117 8- to 13-year-olds and their parents, 54% of children felt that their parents checked their devices too often, and 32% of children felt unimportant when their parents were distracted by their phones.
Another study observed 55 guardians eating with young children in fast food restaurants and found that 40 of the guardians used devices during their meals (Radesky, et al., 2014). The researchers examined how absorbed guardians were with their devices, by the frequency of their use as well as their children’s responses to their use. Some children were able to entertain themselves, but others tried for attention more urgently.
Parents who were highly absorbed in their devices tended to be more harsh when their children asked for attention and their misbehavior.
Its Killing Our Kids Social Skills
I find that it is more of the exception than the rule, if a kid makes eye contact or shakes hands properly.
First, interacting with others through screens leaves out many social cues humans receive in person. For example, a teen who receives a text from a friend about his or her day will miss out on visual cues (eye contact or facial expressions), auditory cues (tone of voice), and tactile cues (touch) (Konrath, 2012).
Empathy may develop in the context of the many cues we get during face to-face communication. Additionally, online environments that allow anonymity may make it easier for individuals to ignore others’ feelings, and thus be more aggressive or insensitive than they would be in person.
Findings from a 2014 study support the importance of face-to face time.
After 11- and 12-year-olds spent five media-free days at an outdoor educational camp, their recognition of nonverbal emotion cues improved significantly more than those of their peers who attended school and used media as usual (Uhls et al.,2014).
The ability to pick up on nonverbal cues is important for maintaining healthy social interactions.
How do we fix it?
Make Disconnect Time A Priority
Establish media-free times (e.g., mealtimes, one hour before bedtime) and/or zones (e.g., bedrooms, cars) to restore some balance as well as support face-to-face conversation, healthy sleep, and safe driving. Some users also benefit from extended periods of unplugging, sometimes called a “digital detox”. For example, a weekend day that eliminates media.
Set An Example
We adults are role models. It would be wise for us to be conscious of own own media habits, especially given how we want our children to engage with technology and media. If a child observes a parent being frequently distracted by his phone, she or he may be more apt to internalize that behavior.
Parents can showcase their own media balance by thoughtfully choosing when and how to engage with media. This sets an example as well as establishes a social norm.
This as much an article to myself as it was to you the reader. Kind of like a preacher who preaches about issues he is dealing with outside the pulpit. I write this to help myself be more accountable personally.
(All of the research that was done on these topics can be found in these links)