Kids and technology go hand in hand these days.
For instance, the average amount of time kids and teens now spend online is shocking.
Teenagers are online for 9 hours every day! Children aged 8 to 12 spend 6 hours a day online. Those between 0 and 8 hover at around 50 minutes.
The problem isn’t lost on the kids themselves. Indeed, the same source details how 9 in 10 teenagers consider the length of time they spend online a problem.
Clearly, technology is ubiquitous in our kids’ worlds. It’s hard to put it down.
However, the overuse of technology isn’t without its pitfalls. In fact, children can suffer in all manner of ways from excessive time online. It’s vital that they get time away from technology.
Want to know why?
Keep reading for 5 top reasons kids benefit from getting away from technology.
1. Electronic Devices Impact Sleep
Sleep, as we all know, is an essential part of living a healthy life.
Insufficient, or inadequate levels of sleep cause all sorts of problems. No matter who you are, sleep deprivation leads to irritability, stress, emotional and even physiological issues over time.
The value of sleep is even more pronounced in young people. It’s a vital period of rest that caters for growing brains and bodies. Development and wellbeing are both supported by proper sleep. Learning, memory, and behaviors are all positively supported.
Unfortunately, spending a lot of time on electronic devices before bed can negatively impact sleep. That’s the case for all of us: adults and kids alike!
Electronic devices affect sleep in two ways:
Firstly, there’s a widely reported direct effect. Using them before bedtime hampers sleep quality and quantity. Secondly, overuse of these devices eats into the night. As such, the actual amount of time available for sleep is reduced too.
2. It Can Impact Social & Emotional Development
We’re all guilty of it.
Young kids are full of energy! They demand near-constant attention, care, and entertainment. Sometimes parents need a bit of a break.
These days, the easiest thing to do is often giving them an iPad or smartphone to play with. The fun videos, sounds, apps, and games are like a magical distracting pill!
Unfortunately, this use of tablets and smartphones to divert attention has been shown to affect social and emotional development. After all, their self-regulatory processes aren’t being utilized.
The child associates the technology with calming down. Over time, what happens when the technology isn’t available? They can lack the ability to self-regulate.
3. The Risk of Cyber Bullying
Bullying has changed since we were at school.
Back then there’d be a big bully waiting for you in the schoolyard. They’d make your life a misery via verbal and occasional physical abuse.
Of course, this still happens too.
However, the rise of technology means bullying doesn’t stop in the playground. In the past, bullying was reserved for the school. But you’d get home and find a place of comfort.
Today, the constant connectivity provided by technology means it can continue at all hours. It might not be a physical beating, but the emotional and psychological trauma can be extreme. With photo sharing and instant messages, bullying can go on long into the night.
It can, of course, have negative effects on a child of any age.
4. Insufficient Time Spent Outdoors
Technology is having a direct effect on the amount of time kids spend outdoors.
Not so long ago, children and teenagers would finish school and go to each other’s houses. They’d kick a ball around in the park, ride their bikes outside, and run around in playgrounds.
For many young people, this no longer happens.
Instead, they run home from school to get on their games console of choice. They’ll connect with their friends over the internet and run around in virtual worlds. The curtains will be drawn and the lights will be off.
They’ll stop periodically to check Snapchat or Instagram. Generally, they’re sedentary and inactive. The workout’s reserved for their thumbs.
Child obesity rates are at an all-time high. Vitamin D insufficiency is high. Simply, tech is having a direct impact on the worsening health of our kids.
5. Anxiety Struggles and Social Problems
It isn’t just the physical health that’s an issue.
Indeed, anxiety, depression and other emotional well-being problems have been linked with it. This is particularly the case with social media usage. Negative social comparisons, cyber-bullying, feelings of inadequate social interactions, and so on, all play a role.
Depressive symptoms are a particularly common outcome.
Of course, there will be interactions with the aforementioned downsides of excessive-tech use too. For instance, a lack of sleep and physical exercise outdoors both impact emotional well-being.
Taking a break from it has a positive effect in numerous capacities.
Thankfully, it isn’t all bad!
For instance, there’s some evidence that the social side of communicating digitally can improve mood and promote healthy behaviors as well. However, given the negative effects, it seems sensible to limit the time with technology.
Final Thoughts on Kids and Technology
There you have it: 5 reasons why children should spend time away from electronics.
In today’s world, kids and technology are often inseparable. Laptops, smartphones and games consoles are ubiquitous. It’s now part of kid culture to spend hours of the day on one screen or another!
Gone are the days of coming home from school and playing outside with friends. These days, all the playing happens online, via computers and PlayStations.
As we’ve seen, there are clear incentives for kids to take a break from it all. All that time with technology can have a significant deleterious impact on many areas of their lives.
Hopefully, this post has convinced you of the need to help them get away from it!
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