Smartphone usage is increasing rapidly in today’s digitalized world. It is not just adults who are affected, but children of all ages. All over the world, children are using smartphones in a variety of ways. Children use smartphones for a variety of purposes, including video calling with friends and family or playing games. They also use them for social media, online education or to play games.
Many studies have shown that the use of smartphones by little children has increased dramatically.
We all witnessed the time limits that parents had set for their children explode after the lockdown.
We at Sherwood High understand that the internet is a great resource for learning and that technology can be a wonderful tool for kids. While we cannot ignore the positives of smartphones, there are also some risks.
Kids of this generation have been hooked on smartphones from an early age. Some parents are proud that their children can use apps and smartphones so easily, while others allow their children use their smartphones to watch YouTube videos, play games, and use social media all day without realizing the impact it has on their child’s growth.
If parents manage and guide their child’s smartphone usage, we believe it can be a great benefit for them. However, without proper guidance and management, the negative effects of smartphones on children’s health, development and education is a cause for concern. In this blog, we will examine the negative impact of smartphones on your child’s development.
1. A DISCOMFORT IN THE EYES AND DAMAGE TO EYESIGHT
Although there are no studies that prove the long-term use of screens can damage your eyes permanently, they do cause discomfort. Children are more likely to develop symptoms if they use smartphones excessively. Digital eye strain is a term used to describe symptoms that are caused by excessive smartphone use. These include headaches, fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision and pain.
Children are increasingly playing online games or watching YouTube videos, which can affect their vision. Children don’t use their smartphones with caution and often hold them too close to their faces. This is something that eye specialists around the world warn against.
A popular study from the Chonnam National University found that most children aged between 7 and 16 who spend a lot of time using their smartphones have crossed eyes. According to the research, spending between 4 and 8 hours on smartphones per day is likely to result in cross-eyed children.
Doctors suggest that, while these problems are temporary, smartphone use should be limited. They recommend taking a 30 minute break every now and again to give your eyes a rest. Children should also be taught to keep their devices further away from the eyes, and to reduce their brightness.
2. TUMOURS RISK:
We don’t want to scare anyone with this information but the truth is, there are studies that show that excessive smartphone use can lead to tumours.
Although there are limited studies that prove cell phone radiation is the exact cause of tumours, we know that excessive use of smartphones can increase risk.
Teachers, parents and caregivers are influenced by this type of risk to limit our children’s phone usage. Click here to read our blog about tips to reduce screen-time for children.
3. Sleep Patterns that are Disrupted:
Before going to sleep, most children check their phones. It could be that they are staying up late to talk to friends, play games, watch videos or simply scroll through social media. The mindless staring of smartphones in the late night hours can cause fatigue and restlessness. Using electronic devices at late hour can also lead to a reduced sleep schedule. All digital devices emit blue light which is harmful to eyes and tricks our brain to believe that it’s still daylight.
Sleep disturbances can also affect children’s academic performance. When children are sleep-deprived at night, they cannot concentrate in class, causing a domino effect.
Recent studies have shown that a lack of sleep affects not only academic performance, but also physical development, attention and energy levels. It is therefore essential that we enforce strict rules regarding smartphone use at night in order to ensure our children get quality sleep.
4. Affect on mental health:
Children are becoming addicted to social media due to the increased use of smartphones. They use it to stay in touch with their friends and keep up to date on current trends. Children often compare themselves to their peers, and post content in certain ways to increase engagement.
Internet is a vast area and it is likely that children will encounter a wide range of inappropriate behavior which can have a negative impact on their mental health. Cyberbullies and harassment on the Internet are often only revealed by kids much later, when their mental health has already been damaged.
According to new studies, an hour spent on their phones each day can play a major role in the increase of anxiety and depression among children. According to the British Psychological Society, kids and teens who are on social media have low self-esteem and suffer from anxiety, depression and poor sleep.
We as parents need to educate our children about the dangers and safety measures that social media offers. We also need to show them how to block unwanted communications. It is our duty to monitor and track our children’s activity. Talk to your children about what harassment is and how it differs from cyberbullying. This will help them understand the difference and prevent themselves being bullied.
For more information on social media safety, you can read our blog post “Teaching children safety measures in order to protect their privacy on social media”.
5. AFFECTS THEIR CAPACITY TO LEARN
Researchers have found that the use of smartphones can be detrimental to the social and economic development of children, as they divert their attention. According to research, children who spend time using interactive screens on handheld devices like smartphones are less likely to develop the math and science skills they need.
Since most children bring their phones to school and class, the smartphones are taking precedence over the lessons being taught. This behaviour has a direct impact on academic performance. Children are increasingly addicted to their phones and do not pay attention in class. They also miss important chapters and therefore, they get low grades.
It is possible that students will commit academic malpractice, as smartphones can store a large amount of information. They also allow children to search for any answer they need. In many schools, students have used their smartphones to store screenshots, pictures, or notes. They also use the internet to find answers or to use the built-in calculator when a calculator was not permitted.
This type of activity not only reduces their grades and learning ability but also results in personality issues.
Smartphones are both a blessing and a curse to young people today. Children of all ages have used smartphones to stay connected to friends and family and express themselves creatively, as well as to learn (especially during pandemics), and in an engaging and fun way.
A smartphone that is used excessively can have negative effects on the health and development of your child. Blue light and other radiation from smartphones can damage children’s brains and eyes, and even alter their thinking process. Numerous studies have demonstrated that excessive Screen Time can damage the brain by causing gray matter atrophy, decreasing cortical thickness and compromising white-matter integrity. It also impairs cognitive function, debilitating Dopamine function, and reducing white-matter integrity.
Screen time should be taken very seriously. It is in the parents’ hands to limit screen time and to ensure that their children are protected from these dangers. Even as adults, it can be difficult to restrict our smartphone usage. This makes it even more important to limit the screen time of children as they are more likely to experience the problems mentioned above.
We at Sherwood High believe that it is our duty as parents, teachers, and caregivers to be educated on the best practices for children’s mobile phone usage, and to remain aware of their habits and locations. We also try to work with our kids to find a balance between using smartphones in a constructive way.