Are your kids indulging a lot in iPad games and other electronic devices? Have you been wondering about the safety of electronic games for your children? Well, then here is something you would like to know. Recent studies have shown that over exposure to iPad and similar devices can be dangerous for babies and children.
Whether it is video games, computer games, iPads or smart phones, all these can have a deep impact on a child’s development and health. These days, it is commonly seen that kids play with interactive games or devices for hours together. While parents are becoming busier with their chores, hand held devices are used as baby-sitters.
Children and Games
Gadgets of varying types and quality are being increasingly used for entertaining kids. Right from babies and toddlers to kids and adolescents, all are using electronic games and apps for hours. While sometimes, using these devices may be a need of the modern era, most of the times; it leads to overuse and unwarranted access.
These days, children use computers, tablets, etc. in schools for educational purposes. But when they additionally spend excess time playing games over these devices, it adds to their total screen time in a day. It is believed that some amount of exposure can help in stimulating development but overdoing it can be harmful for your child’s health.
What are the Health Effects of Gadget Games on Children?
Research studies have found that with a boom in games on electronic devices, there is an increase in the number of kids experiencing health problems. Spending long hours in front of the screens and handling them has led to more and more children being affected physically as well as mentally.
The commonest problems observed due to long hours spent by children playing hand held electronic games on smartphones, tablets and other gaming devices are complaints of back pain, neck, shoulder discomfort and other posture related disturbances. A survey conducted by the British Chiropractic Association revealed that most kids used computers, laptops or tablets for around one to six hours. According to the survey, many children suffered from neck pain and few from back pain, which can be attributed to screen time.
Parents often need to consult specialists and physical therapists, to facilitate proper growth and development of their kids. More and more kids are being prescribed exercises and therapeutic lifestyle so as to counter the ill-effects of hand held gadgets and games.
Health effects of hand held devices and excess screen time in kids include
- Use of gadgets limits children’s movement and can affect normal development. This can lead to physical and emotional developmental delays causing late sitting, walking, lack of proper strength due to inadequate activity.
- It can affect brain development by limiting natural stimulation and can lead to impaired learning, attention deficits and reduced capability of self regulation.
- Learning ability is influenced by natural movement and exposure. Overuse of technology limits movements and natural exposure, which can have negative influence on the learning process and academic performance.
- Excessive use of screen time can also be associated with behavior issues, over activity, aggression and violence. Overuse of technology can also affect your children’s sleep and deprivation of which can affect their physical and mental health.
- When kids get engrossed in the world of games and gadgets, little remains their interest in real physical games. The practice of sedentary entertainment gradually tends to make kids more inactive and they can soon become couched potatoes. In such cases, obesity and other related health problems are not too far then.
American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding electronic gadget use for infants and limiting technology use for 1 to 2 hours in case of older children.
How To Know If Kids Are Overspending Time On Electronic Gadgets Which Could be Detrimental to their Health?
Kids often show some changes in their behavior, when they are over influenced by gadget games. Here are some signs which parents can watch out for and take action at the right time.
- Children may avoid playing with other kids or mingling with family members and would appear as socially withdrawn. They seem to have lost interest in activities that are otherwise enjoyed by kids.
- Excessively wired kids can become more restless, easily agitated, may lack self control and throw temper tantrums.
- It can affect their concentration and ability to focus on a single task and eventually their productivity. In extreme cases, may appear disinterested in studies, which can also affect their grades.
Apart from these soft issues, parents can have real tough time managing their children’s health. Right from headache, oversensitive eyes to increasing neck and back pain can result from sedentary lifestyle and poor postures. Lack of inclination and time for physical exercise can make the muscles all the more weak and inefficient in children.
How to Make Sure Children Use Screen Time of Electronic Gadgets Effectively?
Screen time may be smartly used for the benefit of kids, in a manner that can aid their development. Educational activities that reinforce concepts and makes learning more interesting may be used under supervision.
It is important to make kids aware of the right postures when handling handheld electronic game device and gadgets and proper seating should be arranged. Children must be made to avoid using games and devices in bed; instead engage them in more creative activities like reading bedtime stories.
Restricting the use of hand held electronic game devices like smartphones and tablets, playstations and other gaming consoles by children can help eliminate common complaints of neck pain, hand pain, back pain and shoulder pain in children. Parents should spend quality time with kids and be good role models. Encourage physical play, reading books and hobbies like art and music to foster child development and helping avoid posture related complaints in children.