Let us begin with something you may not know but probably will not find too shocking.
Confused? Well, maybe just knowing the fact will help clear the air of any doubts you may have.
According to a recent survey, about 55% of the parents interviewed admitted that their 9-13-year-old kids had access to smartphones for an entire day on a regular basis. What’s more, they also admitted that their kids spend about 3 hours on the phone each day (ages 13 to 17) and that 44% are reported to be addicted to smartphones.
See, that was not too shocking, was it? The stats of your might actually seem similar. Especially considering the number of times you may have scolded your child for being glued to smartphones.
That said, mobile side effects on a child are not known. It is important to beat this addiction so children can grow holistically.
Mobile side effects on a child
Overuse of smartphones can have adverse effects on your child’s health. Let us take a look at the major side effects of smartphone use among kids below:
- Using smartphones for an extended period of time can cause vision problems in children, ranging from issues such as myopia, poor vision, blurry vision and the like.
- Among the other side effects of a smartphone is reduced attentiveness. Though studies have not been conclusive, they do suggest that overuse of smartphones can potentially increase the risk of developing symptoms of ADHD.
- Excessive use of smartphones can also negatively impact your child’s nightly sleep quality. Studies show that the total number of hours spent sleeping was shorter among kids who used smartphones frequently as opposed to those who did not.
- Cell Phone effects on child development are not unheard of. Researchers have found out that regular use of smartphones for long durations can result in behavioural and emotional problems in children aged 5 to 8 years. They might find it difficult to socially adjust themselves due to the amount of time they spend on the virtual plane.
These are not the only side effects of a smartphone. Overuse can also lead to lower grades as well as mental health problems overtime.
How to get rid of mobile addiction
Beating cell phone effects on child development is not just important, it is crucial. Luckily, there are plenty of small and easy steps you can take to wean your child off of smartphones. Given below are a few ways that can help you.
- Delay the age at which your child gets a smartphone
- Use activities to keep them engaged
- Turn off wifi/data when handing over the phone
- Schedule phone time
- Lead by example
It might be easy to hand over your phone to a crying kid so they can get distracted and calm down. But it is best avoided considering all the side effects we discussed above. Delay the age at which your child first gets access to a smartphone as much as possible.
However, if you must give school-going kids a phone, at least ensure your child does not get access to one till they are 18 months of age. By then, they would have developed their key senses without being influenced by a phone.
If you are wondering how to limit screen time for kids, this trick might come in handy. Parents often hand kids a smartphone to keep them engaged while they go about their chores and duties for the day. Do not do that. Instead replace the smartphone with a constructive yet fun activity.
You can use a number of toys and games that help kids learn while having fun. Toys such as play dough and building blocks can develop a child’s imagination while improving their motor schools. Other fun activities you can get your kids to participate in could be gardening, arts and craft, skating or other sports. Basically, anything that gets them off the phone in a constructive manner.
Online games are the number one reason why children get addicted to smartphones! You must have read/heard/watched play out countless stories of how kids end up spending their parents’ on online games. It is truly an addiction!
To prevent such mishaps from happening as well as to reduce your kid’s dependence on a smartphone, turn off wifi or internet data when giving it to your kids. When they do not get free access to the internet, they will quickly get bored and hand it back. Plus, this way you can also keep them away from the harmful influences prevalent online.
Another effective solution to your query of how to limit screen time for kids. When smartphone use cannot be avoided, it is best to regulate it. In the same way as you regulate daily TV time.
Restricting your child’s daily use of a phone to about half an hour or one hour a day after they have completed their homework can help you prevent addiction. It is also a great way to inculcate discipline and to let your child know that they have to earn smartphone time.
Just make sure your child does not finish their homework in haste only to get some smartphone time.
Always, always, always lead by example. If you want your kids to be less dependent on phones, show them that you are not dependent on them either. When you are around your kids, limit phone use to only when absolutely necessary. Avoid using the phone at the dining table or when spending time with family. Show your kids that you would rather indulge in other activities such as reading or going for a run than being glued to your phone.
‘How to get rid of mobile addiction’ might be a question that haunts you day and night but the above tips can definitely help you curtail your kid’s smartphone time. At EuroKids, we try our best to tap into the potential of each child and harness it to veer them towards an activity or hobby they love. This helps in channelling their energies in a more constructive direction. To know how we do this, be sure to visit your nearest EuroKids centre.