Smartphones do have positive as well as negative effects on children’s vulnerable minds. Don’t you think, screen monitoring apps provide the perfect solution for concerned parents?
Kids do not crave for toys or playing outdoors anymore. Research indicates that children below 8 years spend an average of 48 minutes on a smartphone every day, reminding us of the saying, ‘People are the prisoners of their phones, that’s why they are called ‘cell’ phones.
Adults across the world have become so absorbed in their phones that relationships are suffering the most. With the younger generation following their trail, we need to figure out the short and long-term effects of smartphone use on their psychological health.
What is psychology
Psychology is a field encompassing the study of human thought, behavior, development, personality, emotion, motivation, and more. Having a deeper understanding of psychology can help people achieve insights into their actions. It also helps to have a better understanding of others.
Why we should understand child psychology
Child psychology is not a foreign subject anymore. We know that childhood is a critical time in a person’s life. Events that happen when we’re young, however insignificant ones – can have a direct impact on how we grow as adults.
5 essential things ‘child psychology’ teaches about children
The study of child development is divided into three areas: physical, cognitive, and social-emotional. Progress in one area can strongly influence that in another, so it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they are inevitably linked.
The development follows key patterns or principles that we need to interpret for understanding how to treat and educate children.
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How smartphone affects development in childhood
- Physical development refers to body changes and includes the acquisition of specific skills, such as gross-motor and fine-motor coordination.
- Occupation in smartphones leads a child to live a sedentary life, which interferes with developing these skills, resulting in the delay of physical development.
- Cognitive development refers to the progress in language, thought, reasoning, and imagination. Playing certain brain-stimulating games in moderation might prove to be advantageous for developing thinking and reasoning.
- Feelings such as trust, fear, confidence, pride, friendship, and humor are part of one’s social-emotional development. Young children are impressionable, so exposure to violent or adult content might trigger the negative feeling to rise on the surface.
Developmental milestones are checkpoints to determine what the average child can do at a particular age. Knowing the milestones helps in identifying potential problems with delayed development.
There are four main categories of milestones-
- Physical milestones
- Cognitive or mental milestones
- Social and emotional milestones
- Communication and language milestones
How smartphone affects milestones in childhood
- Overexposure to devices results in poor eyesight, obesity, sleep deprivation, and other physical disorders that slow down the process of achieving physical milestones.
- Children who remain cemented to the screens find it challenging to initiate real-time conversations. They find themselves alone in the crowd, seeking solace in smartphones.
- Smartphones operate on electromagnetic waves. Our brain has its electric impulses. Children do not have a secure defense mechanism against waves. So, their mood patterns and behavioral tendencies get altered, and they may have trouble learning new things or focusing correctly.
- Smartphones prove to be useful in education as it contains an ocean of information. But again, when a child overindulges in it, exploring other content, academic performance is compromised.
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Disobedience and impulsive behavior, showing rebellion from time to time, is quite a normal part of the growing-up process. But some children behave in a complicated manner that is inappropriate for their age. Behavioral disorders in kids demand an expert’s intervention to settle things.
How smartphone affects behavior in childhood
- Some games invoke hostility, aggression, or disruptive behaviors in children.
- Body-shaming can induce eating disorders in some children; mainly, the girls are more prone to fall victim to anorexia or bulimia.
- With the diminishing number of real friends and an increasing number of online friends, the child does not realize slipping deep into the trench of isolation.
Emotional development involves learning to accept one’s own feelings and others’ too and developing effective ways of managing them. This process commences in infancy and continues into adulthood.
How smartphone affects emotions in childhood
- Children believe everything they see on screens to be genuine. They find their friends to be leading flashier lives and start feeling envious. This exacerbates emotional problems and mood disorders.
- When used with positive intentions, it can strengthen friendships as a real group of friends can encourage them to explore and pursue their dreams.
- Photo sharing is something children seem to love the most. Girls particularly are more into ‘comparison games’ and start questioning their worth when compared to others.
- Garnering unwelcome attention from cyberbullies is sure to claim the child’s mental peace and serenity.
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Social development is closely associated with emotional development. Socialization involves gaining the skills that enable children to relate to others effectively. When grown, they can contribute in positive ways to family, school, and the community. Early childhood is a crucial period for socialization.
- Child starts receding the connection with the real-world, remaining aloof when in social gatherings.
- Social media makes socializing easy and approachable. Teens lacking social skills might benefit from connecting with other teens through social media.
- A child, when uses social media smartly, can find a group of people sharing the same interests. They also get to connect with authenticating experts, who can give him/her a proper guideline.
Allowing your child to be a victim of the smartphone is nothing less than welcoming an uninvited and unwanted guest to a family affair. Having regular conversations and instilling trust in children is the best way to protect them.
Parents can also take advantage of the technology and use parental control apps such as Bit Guardian to monitor their children.