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Smartphone Addiction (1)

How to stop smartphone and technology addiction in children

The Internet has become an integral part of many families. Both young and old are glued to different gadgets like smartphones, tablets, computers etc. Many of us use these gadgets extensively for our work and also for our children’s school projects.

Advanced technology has come to the rescue of parents as most of them just thrust some gadgets into the hands of their little ones to keep them engrossed. Parents are relieved and the child is also happy. Sadly, the abuse of technology has led to addiction at a very young age, leading to many health issues. Experts have warned that extensive use of technology at a young age can have a negative effect on the brain and the other parts of the body.

Today, let us look at how to stop smartphone and technology addiction in children

Some of the main causes and effects are –

Extensive usage of technology gadgets like the computer, ipads, smartphones etc.

Children are very dependent upon technology to do their things. Schools and colleges have the entire assignments, projects and curriculums on their website. Every child is supposed to download their assignment, finish the same and upload them back onto the website. This has reduced their written work and children are now more accustomed to working on the computer.

Effect:

Many children are unable to gain speed in writing and think correctly, as they are dependent on calculators to do basic maths. Over dependence on the computer has led to diminishing their own ability to solve assignments.

Constant exposure to electronic gadgets.

Research has clearly indicated that anything that is continuously done for a period of time becomes a habit. Children are constantly watching television, playing games on phones or ipads, leading to actually living in an imaginative world. There is an instant gratification or feel good emotion due to the constant release of dopamine (feel good hormone).

Effect:

Their attention span has become extremely low. They are constantly changing channels or moving from one game to other. The brain does not get enough time to register things and so there is a hindrance to their memory development.

Since they are easily gratified with these games and move on to the next level, they are not excited about the regular reward system in school or at home. It becomes very difficult to motivate these children to abide by good rules or to inculcate any good habits.

children, win, success

Less Social Interaction.

We already know that our growing up years versus our children’s growing up years are very different. Today, children are happy to sit at home and play for hours on their ipads or smartphones. This has serious repercussions on their health.

Active free play time or outdoor sports activities are important for the all-round development of the body. It is also important that they interact and play with others in the real world to develop their social interaction and behavioural skills.

Effects –

Most children have many virtual friends, which are none in reality. They live in a very artificial world wherein they depend upon the likes and dislikes of people. This has led to a high level of depression, low self-esteem, loneliness, negativity and also suicidal tendencies in some cases.

Step in before an addiction is formed.

You need to carefully observe the usage of technology gadgets by your children. You can start by doing the following:

  1. Check their gadget usage time and talk to them about its overuse.
  2. Keep a time off for all technology gadgets. There should be no use of any gadgets during their time off.
  3. Move the computer in an open area of the house to monitor the usage.
  4. Set passwords on the gadgets to check the usage.
  5. Find out what exactly they are addicted to, whether it is chat rooms, educational sites, games or other unwanted sites.
  6. Keep a limit or set rules for the usage of gadgets.
  7. Get your child engaged in other interesting activities like their hobbies, colouring, painting, sports, reading, playing an instrument etc. Once they are busy with their schedule, there will be less time to spend on gadgets.
  8. Always check the internet browsing history to keep a tab of things being seen on the computer.

Always set aside a family time.

Set aside a family time like praying together, eating together etc. Keep around 15 minutes a day just to ask your children about their day. You can also play some games or have a general chat which will lighten the environment.

Effect –

As you share more family time, children will be detached from technology and will start enjoying and looking forward to this family time. Remember this family time help you to bond and to support each other.

Finally every addiction is formed due to the lack of love and attention. If you are able to give your child adequate attention and love, then you can help them to be strong and responsible adults. The above are some of the main causes and effects of technology addiction in children.

If you are observing some of these addiction symptoms, then it is not too late to start. Ensure that you help your child lead a healthy life.

Please read our earlier article Parenting challenges in the high tech age
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