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Smartphone, social media and the internet have become a boon and a bane for children. Access to internet helps kids learn a lot of things and sometimes the tools available in it helps them learn faster. But, when they are left with their device, unsupervised, it is not good for their physical as well as mental health. Use of smart phones by kids has considerably increased especially after the pandemic. All the educational institutions had to operate online and parents had no other choice but to give them access to internet. It is not just the inappropriate online content that damages kids mental health, increased used can also cause slow brain development, bring them closer to cyber bullies, increase risk of depression and anxiety.
In this case, it is solely the parent's responsibility to restrict smart phone usage. They must set some rules and guidelines and make sure to supervise them when they have a Smartphone in hand.
Why should parents restrict smartphone usage for their children?
Kids are curious beings. Once they get access to something as interesting as the internet there curiosity will have no bounds. They might accidentally or purposely come across inappropriate content, adult content will have an adverse impact in their brain development. Their immature brain will not be able to understand it, but because of their curiosity they might also end up learning the wrong things which will reflect in their personality as they grow up. Thus, they should never be left unattended.
The blur light from smart phones affect eye health and also affects sleep. Increased usage can lead to symptoms of insomnia in a child. At first, it might cause sleep disruptions but later it could develop into serious mental health problems. A child should at least get 8 hours of sleep every day, this is important for their brain development. Smartphone can serve as an obstacle to this.
A study conducted by the British Psychological Society, stated that rise in depression and anxiety in young children may also be attributed to excessive Smartphone use. Access to social media and internet means that they are entering a different world full of superficiality. But because they are kids, they are vulnerable to it. This can give rise to low-self esteem, body image issues, anxiety and depression.
Increased use of smartphone can lead to increase malpractices. Children might get used to using in built calculators when they are actually not allowed to do that in schools. And, they might also learn unique ways to cheat by storing photographs or reference information or exchanging answers with other students. This can hamper their academic performance in school and also hamper their learning process which is required especially after they become adults.
While smartphone use can help a child learn and also ensure there safety in many cases, but experts recommend that they should always be supervised until they are adults. Getting access to the internet is not bad as long as it is used for the purpose of learning only. However, parents should certainly limit the usage time, make sure they check the internet histories, also it is important to tell kids why they are too young to use a smart phone on a regular basis. Open communication can actually help.
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