Digital Generation: Is your child becoming addicted to technology?
Welcome to the future, where books are a thing of the past and Angry Birds isn’t a type of aggressive avian. Where toys are only for decoration and a baby’s first word is ‘IPad’. In today’s society, it’s not a shock to hear that one in three babies are tapping on tablets and smartphones before they learn to walk and talk.
In a recent headline featured in the Telegraph, parents are being warned against using devices as virtual baby sitters as young children are at the risk of becoming addicted to technology. But maybe it’s inevitable, that we’re raising the next digital generation and there’s nothing that we can do about it except embrace it.
There are many opinions upon the affect technology has towards the younger generation. Whether it be the best invention to cure a crying baby or a poor substitute for personal interaction, technology is growing.
An alarming image that is becoming more frequent is the environment at cafes. What use to be an abundance of laughs, baby cries and strong conversations is now replaced by the sounds of digital entertainment and slurps of coffee as parents sit quietly. Is this really the future we want to forward into? Where children rely on a digital screen for a sense of comfort. A study was taken upon the usage of screen time children between the age of three and five years old have, the results was quite the wake-up call, as the average screen time was 132 minutes a day. Although some will argue that apps can be educational and help teach children basic information, an obsessive amount of time spent on screens can impact the mental health of the user. Are we really using technology as a distraction for our children instead of teaching them social skills or how to calm them-selves down?
The Australian Department of Health suggests that children under the age of two should have zero screen time, as their brains are still sensitive at this age. If a child becomes dependent on the use of devices to occupy the mind, then how are they expected to grow and learn. These apps they are given to, distract, stop crying and keep them quiet, are in some cases damaging the child more.
Cutting down on screen time however can be difficult, especially for a busy parent with a bored child in a public environment. With a handy device at your reach, such as an iPad, that can distract your child from a future tantrum, this can be the common hole through which we fall.
The key to juggling a child’s addiction for devices is balance. If you were to remove technology altogether, this can reduce the child’s ability to connect and engage with the modern world. By balancing the time spent on technology and the media of which is being viewed, this once addiction can be turned into a positive learning experience.
While there is no simple answer upon the younger generations’ addiction to technology, what we do know is that the parents have a huge impact on the usage their children are having. The challenge now is to figure out how to get the most out of technology in a positive way without letting it get out of control.