Electronic gadgets

Abdulrazek Saiyed
Specialist Psychiatry
Mediclinic Welcare Hospital

IMPACT OF ELECTRONIC GADGETS ON CHILDREN

Use of electronic gadgets by kids is harmless or is it detrimental to their development? Most of us will be compelled to choose the latter thought, yet many parents see nothing wrong in exposing their kids to the unwanted side effects of electronic gadgets.

According to the USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average child spends about 8 hours a day watching electronic screens. In a study undertaken among middle schoolers of UAE, 60.3% of the excessive users of mobile phones had a poor attitude and 68.5% of the excessive users of tablets had a poor attitude. This poor attitude refers to the participants’ unawareness of surroundings while using the gadgets, their considering electronic gadgets to be the best source of entertainment, and their agreeing that surviving without technology is difficult even for one day.

By using a screening tool, researchers studied that the more time children spend on smart phones, tablets and electronic games,  the more likely the chances of delays in expressive speech. Children will learn to talk and communicate through interactions with others, which usually will not happen in presence of gadget.  

Along with the body, the brain also grows until adulthood is reached. Studies have proved that in an event where toddler has too many gadgets, it might end up impacting the brain negatively, leading to attention deficit, impaired learning, less ability to self-regulate along with cognitive delays. Besides, the blue light emitted by the super-sharp display prevents the release of melatonin, a sleep hormone, leading to sleep impairments in children.

Unlimited gadget use introduces depression in children of certain ages. If not supervised, kids use internet to see adult content and not educational websites. This practice can impact their character and moral values. Children replicate what they see. Hence, exposure to violence in recent video games increases the risk of violent behavior in teenagers. Increasing use of mobile phones, text messages, e-mails, and chat rooms, has led to creation of new means of social interaction in which aggression can occur abruptly and innocent kids might get victim of their own mind. 

Restrict the amount of time children spend on gadgets. Encourage them to play outside with friends and siblings, thus, learning to interact and communicate with others.  Demonstrating use of gadget in educational field or study purpose can lead to drastic change in their lives. Using them in a constructive way can lead to healthier and efficient minds.