These days, children with a gadget on their hands is a sight you often see around you. The exposure of children to smart devices is rapidly increasing from time to time. Children use various different gadgets such as television, radio, smartphones, Xbox, iPad, and others for different purposes such as games, watching videos, chatting with their friends, and browsing the Internet. Children spend more time on gadgets than interacting actively and physically with their friends outdoors.
For 21st century learning and education, technology awareness is an essential component to access a variety of educational resources that will cultivate important skills to children. Because of technology, the education system is embarking on major changes and change the way children acquire knowledge, solve problems, and find information.
Here are the adverse effects of prolonged exposure of electronic devices on preschoolers’ development.
Enrichment itself is the action of improving or enhancing the quality of something so child enrichment center is a place to enhance the children’s skills. Yes, that is why there is a lot of skill-based program in the child enrichment centers such as coding class, cooking class, STEM class, art and craft class and many more.
In other words, child enrichment centers will focus on improving skills rather than academically. Different from enrichment center which is one type of informal institution for learning, schools are formal institutions for children to learn.
So, your children will go to school to learn about academic subjects such as Bahasa Melayu, English, Mathematics, History, Science and many more but in child enrichment center children will be learning new skills or enhancing their skills, as mentioned before.
2- Damaged Eyesight
This is one of the main effects of exposure to children’s development when growing. Looking at the screen of the electronic devices could strain the eyes. This could lead to various eye problems in children as they grow. Good eyesight is determined by the ability of children to staring and viewing things from varying distances.
During our time, parents will always tell us to not sit so close to the television at home. This is because there is the radiation produced from the television that could damage our eyes. However, it is a different case with electronic devices. Electronic devices could lead to digital eye strain and caused children’s vision to be blurry. These are the symptoms that you can observe:
- Blurred or double vision
- Increasing sensitivity to light
- Trouble concentrating
- Sore neck and shoulders
- Dry and watery eyes
- Itchy and burning eyes
If you fail to observe this, your children could be affected by squint and frequent headache. To conclude all this, the lesser screen time, the better.
3- Aggressive Behaviours
When children spend too much screen time playing games and watching action movies, children will develop aggressive behaviours. Although tantrums are normal for children, it is the most common form of aggressiveness shown by the children. So, it is important for you to take charge and decide what activities your children should indulge in.
Indeed, 21st-century learning encourages children with educational games and educational movies however these media have been designed and chosen specifically to fit the children’s needs, unlike the media that could be easily downloaded from the Internet (sometimes without parental guidance).
When children have shown aggressive behaviours to their family members, it is possible for them to be violent when interacting with their peers and will have problems in relating to people in schools, mainly. If this is not handled properly when children are very young, as they grow up they will be involved in drug and alcohol abuse, suffer from depression, and engage in criminal behaviours.
Take control of what children are spending their time with! It is time for you to purchase all those experiment kits and colouring books to ensure children are occupied with good activities.
4- Sleep Deprivation
Children who have their hands on electronic devices will spend hours and hours playing with it. They will choose to play with gadgets rather than taking a rest. When children are lack of sleep, they will become grumpy, eat more food, and become aggressive too! Do you see that sleep deprivation leads to other effects on children’s development if there is prolonged exposure to electronic devices? How do you know if your children are sleep-deprived?
These are some signs that you can observe:
- Being grumpy during the day
- Sleeping late in morning
- Have trouble going to sleep
- Falling asleep outside of their usual sleep and nap times
- Unexplainable decrease in daytime performance
- Sleepwalking or nightmares
The general guide for children is they need 12 hours of sleep a night and 9 hours of sleep when they become teenagers. It is important to make sure children get enough sleep so that they will be able to fairly cope with their daily activities especially when they are learning in schools.
5- Drastic Brain Development
At a young age, children’s brain triples in size and develop until they become adults. There are a lot of studies shown that prolonged exposure will affect children’s development and can cause attention deficit, impaired learning, and decreased ability of self-regulation (which may lead to an excessive and frequent tantrum).
Rather than giving time for toddlers to spend more time with electronic devices, use that time wisely with your children. Plan different indoors and outdoors experiments and activities to explore daily with your children to keep them distracted from the electronic devices. Doing activities with children can drastically improve their intellectual and cognitive skills. These skills include problem-solving, developing their imagination, and critical thinking. If your children are interested to do art and crafts, you may do so. Let children be creative and enhance the dexterity of their hands (since most of the activities are hands-on).
Electronic Devices: Is It a Need?
Our system is drastically changing since the beginning of 2020 and online classes for children, especially toddlers have become a need instead of just an option for teachers to conduct classes for continuous learning due to a pandemic. With schools around the global have closed, online learning has risen. To make sure children are participating in the online learning, they will need to spend more screen time