Focus Is Deteriorating In Children

How to Manage the Ill Effects of Smartphones and Gadgets

Smartphones and tablets are the easiest distraction for children today. Whether it is to bribe them into doing what you want or keeping them occupied for a bit, they are the best tools. With education moving online, for the most part, screen time for children seems unavoidable.

But, smartphones and tablets are slowly stripping away focus in children and are having a sizeable impact on their physical and mental health as well.

The most significant issues faced by children due to smartphones

Most parents want to raise children who are resilient and capable of holding their own in life. But, smartphones stand in the way of that. Here is how:

  • Children using smartphones on a regular basis have been found to demonstrate a significant imbalance in the chemistry of the brain according to the Radiological Society of North America. They think slower and are easily distracted.
  • Using a smartphone to calm children or distract them reduces their ability to self-regulate. They do not learn how to calm down by themselves or deal with boredom. This in turn affects their resilience.
  • Smartphones reduce communication between children and their families or other adults. Children who are used to smartphones find it harder to communicate their feelings or emotions.
  • Introducing smartphones at an early age, not only means reduced physical activity, but also stops children from learning important life skills and prevents resilience building.
  • Using a smartphone or a tablet to find information as opposed to flipping through a book to find it makes them grow up into mentally lazy adults. Mental laziness means that instead of using analytical skills or logical skills, one simply turns to a simpler solution. In this case — the smartphone.
  • Poor sleep from constant exposure to the blue light of the phone can reduce physical resilience to health issues.

How to avoid these issues

Here are some simple tips to help reduce the ill effects of smartphones in kids:

  • It is important to give gadgets to kids at the right age.
  • Keep screen time supervised for very young children.
  • Restrict screen time to 1 hour a day, especially with children in the age group of 2-4 years.
  • Turn to crafts, art, building blocks, playing outdoors and other hands on activities. They help build resilience, focus and immunity.
  • Talk to children. Communication is the key to raising confident, resilient and smart adults.
  • When the child is being difficult or stubborn, reason it through calm and assertive  communication. Be firm if this is a habit.
  • No screens at the dinner table.

According to tech tycoon Bill Gates, children should not have access to a personal smartphone until their teens. In fact, his own kids did not receive a phone until they turned 14 and his family never brings their smartphones to the table. 

When parents give in to their child’s tantrums over a smartphone, they are themselves paving the way to poor cognitive skills amidst several other physical, mental, and behavioural problems. On the other hand, when we rear resilient kids, we raise children who are immune to the temptations of these devices.