It’s hard to imagine a life without smartphones, especially in today’s scenario. Life without a smart device seems impossible with the pandemic imposing virtual learning on students. Back in the day, millennials only had access to social media platforms like Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo Messenger on their desktops. It was used only under the supervision of adults and limited to a few hours in a day. But the situation is very different now. You may have to provide them with a device to help them get through classes every day. Online assignments, group projects, and virtual presentations demand a smart device, and parents tend to give them smartphones without thinking about the repercussions. However, is it wise to give your kids a smartphone? Here are seven reasons that state why smartphones are bad for your kids:
1. Adult Content
In a survey conducted in 2015, there were more than 2 billion web searches for pornography (1). Young minds are curious about what they see in movies, television shows, and songs that they explore further into adult content. 20% of mobile device searches were for adult content. If kids own smartphones, there would be no way to control what kind of content they have access to, and it would make an impressionable mark on their minds. Although there are child lock options, it does not fully protect children from accessing sites like the dark web, deep web or content related to violence, pornogrpahy, and other dangerous adult websites.
2. Social Entertainment
Apps like TikTok might seem harmless, but they are incredibly addictive. With an active user base of over 500 million, the app is one of the most entertaining apps in the world today. Not only do young kids get carried away by using such apps, but several trends and challenges on them have proven to be extremely dangerous. The Blue Whale challenge, Skull Breaker challenge, and many others urge kids to risk their lives to gain some fame on the internet.
3. Self-Esteem Analysis
Social media is a great platform to express yourself, but kids these days are using it to determine their self-worth based on the number of likes and followers. In the recent past, Instagram has been one of the most significant contributors to poor mental health among kids and teens. The photo-sharing app has become the benchmark for happiness and success.
4. Affects Sleep Patterns
It is well known that screen time affects sleep. If you’re lying in bed at night wondering why you cannot fall asleep, it’s probably because of the screen you’re staring into. Kids who spent more time looking at screens reported poor sleep quality than kids who spent limited time on their phones (2). The artificial blue light emitted by technological devices affects circadian rhythm in kids, which affects their sleep quality (3).
5. Behavioral Development
One study found that increased and frequent use of smartphones in kids caused behavioral problems in childhood. The increase in physical isolation of the child due to excessive usage of smartphones has led to depression, anxiety, and loneliness among several adolescent kids. The use of digital devices interferes with a child’s social development and behavioral outcomes and makes social adjustment difficult (4).
6. Cell Phone Addiction
It’s no surprise that cell phones are addictive. Children are more likely to get addicted to their phones than adults, affecting their development in several ways. A study proved that anxiety, depression, and suicide rates increased among kids who spent too much time on their phones. Another study also suggested that cell phone usage adversely affected academic performance and increased impatience in kids (5).
7. Decrease In Attention Span
Smartphones and social media are designed so that you do not need to spend large amounts of attention to consume content. The specialty of these apps is that it holds your attention for 10-15 seconds and urges you to move on to the next one. One study states that smartphones reduce your cognitive capacity reducing your attention span and focus (6).
There is no denying that smartphones have become an integral part of our daily life. But it’s best to keep kids away from the screen. Allot a specific schedule for them to use smartphones or tablets for their school and leisure to help them combat the adverse effects. Was this article helpful? Comment below and let us know. Also, share it with fellow parents to inform them of the harmful effects of a smartphone.