Why Do We Need To Stop Giving Smartphones to Kids?

Why Do We Need To Stop Giving Smartphones to Kids?

In today's world, electronic devices such as cellphones, tablets, and laptops have become necessities for our children. In the U.S., the average age at which a child receives their first smartphone is at ten years. And while this is undoubtedly beneficial in some ways, there are also many downsides to giving children such devices early on in life. Many parents have asked whether there's an ideal age to give a child their first phone or tablet; however, the honest answer is likely that there isn't one.

Your child can fall prey to the dangers of using smartphones at any age and time. Although we can protect kids by recognizing the amount of time they spend on their smartphones and by keeping a tab on the type of content they are exposed to using parental controls, there are still plenty of reasons why we need to stop giving smartphones to kids — and fast! Continue reading to learn more about them.


Constant exposure to violence


One of the most disturbing effects of giving phones to kids is how it exposes them to violence and disturbing imagery. Giving kids easy access to violent content on their smartphones or tablets is much more likely to have a lasting impact. According to research, one in four parents has been taken aback by something their child has seen or read on a mobile device.

Parents often don't understand how easy it is for kids to bypass online content filters. If your child has a smartphone, you need to know that they can immediately access apps like YouTube and Netflix, bypassing parental controls.


Loss of healthy activities


Giving kids smartphones may make certain aspects of their lives easier. However, it also creates many other activities much more difficult. If your kid is constantly on their tablets or phones, they're much less likely to spend less time on healthy pursuits. They're less likely to exercise, read, play outside, or bond with friends, and more likely to stay indoors, use addictive substances, and develop unhealthy eating habits. 

Not only do all these things hurt kids' development, but they also have long-term consequences for their health. Numerous studies have indicated that youngsters who spend most of their time inside are more likely to struggle with obesity as adults; kids who don't engage in the type of imaginative play that reading encourages often don't develop the creative skills they need for future success; and kids who don't engage in healthy social activities are at a higher risk for anxiety and depression.


Loss of sleep and disruption to daily routines


Kids' bodies and brains are not designed to deal with the type of stimulation, and constant connection smartphones provide. Studies have shown that kids exposed to too-high light levels after dark have disrupted circadian rhythms and are much more likely to have issues with sleep. When kids spend too much time on their phones after night, they're more likely to struggle to fall asleep, stay awake for longer, and face a greater risk of sleep disorders in the long run. 

Giving young children phones can also disrupt their daily routines and make it harder for them to learn self-discipline. You don't want a young child checking their phone every few minutes and being distracted from what they're supposed to be doing; you want them to develop the self-discipline to put their phone away and focus on the essential things.


Obsession with appearance and unhealthy relationships


As many psychologists have noted, social media is a breeding ground for unhealthy relationships and obsession with appearance. This is something that adults struggle with, but it's even more damaging when it affects children, who are still developing a healthy sense of self. Social media sites like Instagram often compare oneself to others and feel worse about one's appearance. 

Innocent behavior at a young age can have devastating consequences in body dysmorphia and eating problems throughout adolescence and adulthood. Many studies have found that young women are more likely to have eating disorders when they use Instagram. This isn't just about pictures themselves; it's about the unhealthy ways kids use social media.


Loss of real-world skills


Many think that handing kids smartphones means they'll have excellent life skills because they have quick access to information. However, the truth is that kids who are constantly on their phones are less likely to develop real-world skills. For children who don't have adult supervision, this is especially true.

If your child is on their smartphone, they're less likely to observe their surroundings and more likely to be blind to safety concerns. In many cases, they're also less likely to develop real-world skills like reading comprehension and problem-solving. Parents often worry that they're not giving their kids enough stimulation, but this is far more likely to be a problem than boredom.


Negative impact on mental health


Kids who use their phones excessively are more likely to experience mental health issues. This isn't just about the content your child is exposed to; it's about the fact that they're experiencing only one type of sensory input. While there are many ways to become depressed or anxious, one most common is exposure to too much of one kind of stimulus.

When kids are on their phones, they only get visual and auditory information; they're not feeling tactile things, smelling scents, or tasting things. This type of sensory deprivation can lead to mental health issues and can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Parents often worry about their kids' mental health and encourage them to get outside more; however, they rarely think that their kids can't do both.


Excessive screen time


This is the most significant danger of giving phones to kids. Studies have shown that the amount of time kids spend on their phones is directly related to the amount of depression and anxiety they report. The more time they spend on their devices, the more likely they will have mental health issues. 

This is partly because social media sites affect their mood, and kids are less likely to get sufficient exercise. Too many electronic gadgets can prevent children from getting the rest they need, hindering their ability to learn valuable life skills.


Loss of connection between parent and child


They change the dynamic between parents and their kids. Spending too much time on a mobile phone disrupts the natural connection between a parent and a kid. The bond between a parent and kid is not designed to replace the connectivity afforded by a smartphone. Your bond with a child needs to be established while they are still in their formative years. Smartphones offer convenience and quickness, but they may also influence young people to make poor decisions.


It hinders learning ability


Researchers claim that the distraction caused by a smartphone might have adverse effects on a child's social and economic development. In addition, the data suggest that children's interactive screen time on such gadgets may hinder their development of math and scientific abilities.


It leads to dependency


A smartphone's wide range of features makes it tempting to depend on it. This addiction keeps their attention and holds their interest for a long time, even into maturity.


Behavioral problems or issues


Overusing smartphones for more than two hours daily is associated with adverse psychological and social outcomes. Children who use smartphones and play-accessible applications are more likely to have attention issues.


Bottom line


If we care about our children's mental and physical health, we must take a stand against the use of smartphones by kids at home. Yes, kids like having their own devices, but that doesn't mean we need to give in to this temptation. We must understand that there are severe drawbacks to giving children smartphones and that these far outweigh the benefits.

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