How Tablets & Smartphones Are Negatively Affecting Child Development

In a world where tablets and phones have taken over, it seems nearly impossible to be without them. Whether they are used for work, business, or fun, it seems like everyone is programmed to using their phones and tablets. Adults are not the only ones using these devices. Today more and more children are using tablets and phones at school as well as at home. Despite these tablets giving children the intelligence in technology that they need, they are also negatively affecting their childhood development.How Tablets Affect Learning AbilitiesAccording to Guardian.com, some parents have said that their child’s first word wasn’t “Mom” or “Dad” but instead “IPad.” Researchers warn that using smartphones or tablets to divert a child’s attention is detrimental to their social and emotional development. The use of interactive screen time below the age of three impairs a child’s developmental skills for math and science. Clinical instructor in developmental, behavioral pediatrics Jenny Radesky urges parents to increase direct human-to-human interaction with their children. She also questions the use of smartphones and tablets interfering with the development of empathy, problem-solving, and social interaction. These devices are replacing the unregulated playtime and communication with peers. They also replace the hands-on activities important for the development of sensorimotor and visual motor skills.The Best Ways to Introduce & Limit Tablets & SmartphonesThe best way to reduce these devices negative effect on children is to know the best time to introduce them and limit the time spent using them. PBS.org says to wait until the child is at least at preschool age. If you introduce these devices too soon, the child won’t explore the world using their scenes, which is paramount to their development process. Jeannie Galindo suggests not purchasing a tablet for a child until the ages of 11 and 13. Parental advisory is also vital when exposing children to devices. Dr. Carolyn Jaynes suggests keeping them in the family room and avoid keeping them in the bedrooms so that parents can monitor the screens. In the beginning, only allow your children to use their devices solely for educational purposes.PBS.org recommends no more than an half an hour per sitting for a four or five-year-old, and no more than an hour per sitting for a six to seven year old. Recreational use for high school students is recommended no more than two hours. If they are using them for homework purposes, then extend the hours.The Results of Limiting Tables & SmartphonesSome of the great results of monitoring and limiting the utilization of the tablets and smartphones is that it increases children’s social behavior. When being out in a public place like a park children who spend less time on devices have an easier time playing and interacting with kids. Parents should use books, and hands-on educational games instead of tablets and smartphones to deflect children’s attention instead. Increasing more human interaction and decreasing the use of technology is the best way to improve child development.