Computers, mobile phones, tablets and laptops – all multimedia devices can hide dangers for children, especially if children start using them too early, too often and not in accordance with their age.
Do multimedia devices interfere in the interaction between parents and their small children?
Especially in the first months and years of life, children have to solve the most important development problems. A strong bond with parents gives them safety and is an important foundation for healthy development. This connection mainly develops in their interaction with each other, in the intensive exchange of touches, looks, words and emotions.
Therefore, experts note that parents’ over-preoccupation with smartphones or tablets can disrupt communication between them and their children. For example, if parents are always on the phone or chatting, they are physically present but can only look after their child “casually”. Loud noises and bright images from an always-on laptop can easily drown children’s voices and hinder the verbal exchange between parents and the child.
During the first years of life, children develop their skills, not least through sensory experiences such as smell, taste, hearing, sight and touch. They learn to coordinate different sensory stimuli and classify them correctly. And for this, they need a more comprehensive experience, arising from all the senses’ experience. And computers, tablets, etc., affect only sight and hearing and compete with “exchange with all senses.” Therefore, a “tangible” experience is much more applicable than a digital (media) experience, especially for small children.
Do computer games and watching videos lead to childhood obesity and illness?
Children who sit at the computer a lot undoubtedly move less than children who use computers only rarely. That alone can lead to weight problems. The “weight” difference between those who use the computer often and those who rarely do so, apparently, lies in their eating behaviour: prolonged sitting in front of the screen encourages them to eat without interruption, especially sweet and fatty foods. So it’s not the computers themselves that make kids fat, but the lack of physical exercise and unhealthy eating habits often associated with watching videos or playing computer games.
However, a lack of physical exercise can have other negative consequences for a child’s development. It is clear that children have problems with posture due to excessive and improper sitting. Lack of movement is also not good for physical performance, daily motor skills and body perception. Besides, a lack of physical exercises can negatively affect the mental and emotional development of children.
Therefore, children need to have as varied leisure activities as possible, which compensates for sitting in front of the screen with enough exercise. Children would rather play outside with friends than sit at the computer. Sometimes, however, they just lack interesting “counteroffers”.
Do computers contribute to loneliness?
Children who use computers a lot of time have fewer friends than children who spend less time in front of screens. But that doesn’t mean it makes them lonely. Maybe the child is so busy with gadgets BECAUSE he has no friends and not vice versa. Or the child feels lonely at home because none of the adults has time for him, and therefore the child often sits at the computer.
If the child prefers to sit at the computer, the first important step for parents is to find the reasons for this – perhaps there is something totally unexpected behind it. Maybe this is how the child tries to hide or forget about some problems, such as conflicts with friends, quarrels in kindergarten or school, or lack of leisure. Once the main problem is resolved, children may fill their free time differently and want to meet with friends again.
Do computers make kids stupid and unimaginative?
Some experts argue that being addicted to video or playing games can reduce children’s performance in school. After all, they do not have time for homework and study. Besides, these children may have impaired ability to concentrate and maintain long-term memory.
Others point out that certain programs and computer games help children learn and give a lot of useful knowledge. Despite all the controversy among the experts, one thing is for sure: how computers affect the development of children and teenagers and their education depends mostly on what and how much a child is watching or playing.
Do computers harm a child’s psyche?
Discussions about the impact of media on children’s psyche often only mention the media’s quality and the difference between good and bad programs or games. However, according to research, the influence of certain media on children and what they evoke in them depends on many different factors. These include:
- age and level of development of the child
- child’s environment
- his/her current life situation
- the child’s previous experience with the media
- and even if it’s a girl or a boy
Each child is different and treats multimedia devices differently. Parents know their child best. They know at what level of development their children are, what worries and problems they may have, whether they are sensitive or tough, what they are especially afraid of, etc. Therefore, parents should always know what their child is watching, know and choose together with child programs and games. Lay the “foundation” – show your child really good games so that later he can define something of insufficient quality, even at a young age.
The child may be frightened or upset by the video. In this case, one of the parents should be there as an assistant and “comforter”. It is very important to allow the child to talk about what he saw and heard and ask questions.
Especially small children should not be left alone at the computer. If possible, they should be in front of the screens only with their parents to immediately talk about what scared them or what they did not understand.
Computers and sleep
If children and teens play too much on the computer or watch videos, it can lead to sleep problems. In particular, children who have a computer with an Internet connection or a game console in their room, on average, go to bed much later and become noticeably more tired during the day than their peers without such devices in the children’s room.
Is the radiation of electronic carriers dangerous?
The experts examined who is more sensitive to the electromagnetic fields generated by mobile phones, tablets or computers – children or adults. There is no evidence of this today. However, there is little such research, especially on the long-term effects of gadgets on children.
Therefore, as a general precaution, you should ensure that the younger your child is, the less he or she should use such devices. Make clear rules for their use.
Prohibitions are not a solution
Computers are undoubtedly associated with risks to the healthy development of children. But their absolute prohibition cannot be a solution. Rather, the risks depend on what and how much the child is watching and playing. Computers and other electronic devices should always be just one of many possible activities for a child, clearly limited in time and accompanied by parents.
- Parents need to know what their children are watching and what games they are playing.
- Parents should ensure that their children watch programs and play games appropriate for their age and developmental level.
- Parents should be interested in what the child is doing and also observe or play with him.
All this is easy to organize using the parental control program from InspectSystem.
Thanks to technological advances, smartphones, PCs and tablets have become ubiquitous. Many parents are concerned about when and to what extent they should allow their children to use them. For many, owning their smartphone or computer is the first step towards developing a sense of responsibility. Therefore, do not try to keep the child from this experience on principle. Become familiar with the technical diversity of devices and talk openly about the dangers and risks on the Internet with your children. Be a role model for them and teach them how to use modern multimedia devices and media properly.