Curated Collection

How Are Smartphone/Tablets Effecting Children?

Letting a baby play on an iPad might lead to speech delays, study says
CNN reporter Kelly Wallace tackles the results of a recent, slightly alarming study conducted on young children regarding tablet use. This study found that children ages infant to six who spent two years using smartphones and tablets were more likely to start talking later. More research needs to be done on the topic, however. What about the content the children are exposed to? Could this be a factor as to why they aren’t talking? Dr. Catherine Birken believes that “…in order to actually develop the evidence to inform parents and clinicians about what to recommend, we need more definitive research”. The article stresses the importance of developing a human/non-technological relationship with your child, as not doing so could lead to a sparse vocabulary. Aimed primarily at parents, the article is an interesting read. It brings to light an issue not often explored, how our devices can ruin our communication skills or, for children, delay them from developing.

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Give a Child a Smartphone or Tablet
The article talks about the dangers smartphone usage can have on children. These dangers are organized into ten sections and supported with quotes neuroscientists and developmental-behavioral pediatrics. Dr. Fran Walfish, one of these professionals, says “We have a lot of 2-year-olds using tablets now, and I see 3- and 4-year-olds that are already addicted… It’s mind-blowing and a little scary”. It starts by examining the way smartphones can stunt child/parent relationships, as well as the addiction and misbehavior smartphones can create in children. The article also lists the different cognitive ways children are affected, hurting their learning abilities, preventing them from sleeping, and increasing their likelihood of developing mental illnesses and becoming obese. This article is a good read for parents in the modern digital world. It is eye-opening, as it brings light to the dangers smartphones can have on growing children.

Kids Using Smartphones
The article touches on the psychological issues that can arise if children are given too much screen time. Using the internet makes it easier for children to see any kind of content available, which can lead to them seeing inappropriate things. Cyberbullying has also become a prevalent problem. The article finishes with a list of tips for parents, as well as questions they should be asking when examining their child’s smartphone usage. Some include, “Does my child have trouble talking with and listening to me because of a phone?” and “Does my child seem anxious or depressed after using it, or aggressive or angry when not able to use it?” Much like other pieces in this collection, the article’s main audience is parents. However, children often will not realize these behaviors are caused by their phones. This is all the more reason for smartphone users of any age to read the article. Written by child psychologists Brian Johnson and Laurie Berdahl, the article is packed with informative facts about smartphone addiction and how to combat it.

How Smartphones Are Making Kids Unhappy
This NPR podcasts examines the mental health of the youngest generation, those who have been exposed to smartphones their whole lives. Psychologist Jean Twenge shares her insight on the matter, stating that “… [they are] showing mental health issues across a wide variety of indicators. They’re more likely that young people, just five or ten years ago, to say that they’re anxious, that they have symptoms of depression, that they’ve thought about suicide”. She goes on to explain the correlation between loneliness and the popularity of smartphone usage and social media. The piece is worth any reader’s time, whether it’s concerned parents or students who find themselves in this category. Twenge says she found it surprising the number of teens who were unaware of the downsides to using smartphones. One way we can combat this is to spread awareness, and listening to this podcast does just this.

Smart phones may affect the way children think
The news clip introduces Alexa and Sofia, two girls ages 10 and 12, who have grown accustom a life glued to a smartphone. Their story is used to show the addictive behavior smartphone-using children can develop. Reporter Terri Parker goes on to explain how the thrill of getting likes on social media produces dopamine, a chemical in the brain also seen with addiction. A brief interview with neurosurgeon Dr. Lloyd Zucker finds that he thinks, “At some level, the way we use our brains is being changed… Your learning is inhibited or much poorer if it was to be tested”. One of the biggest challenges is that children don’t know when to stop. The overall message of the report is that parents should monitor their child’s smartphone usage. The report is important not only for parents to watch, but also for kids. If we become more aware of the dangers too much screen time creates, perhaps we can figure out when to put our phones down.

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