Nowadays, the development of modern technologies causes the fact that children from a very young age use a variety of electronic devices extremely a lot. There is no doubt that it is impossible to imagine a life without digital gadgets and its help in different everyday situations. For example, people can find any necessary information and keep in touch with friends, colleges and family wherever a person is. However, too much screen time has also an adverse effect on humans’ life, especially on the children’s one.
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According to statistics, adolescents spend about 3 hours a day using smartphones and other gadgets, while the American Academy of Pediatrics (2016) recommends watching on an electronic screen no more than one hour a day. Unfortunately, many parents do not pay enough attention to this rule and allow their children to spend hours in front of the screen, which leads to various problems. It should be taken into account that too much screen time causes emotional and social disorders. As a result, there are problems with attention, education, and sleeping.
A lot of researches in this area suggest that scientists consider this situation to be very serious. For example, Blum-Ross and Livingstone (2017) name the following general risks connected with long and improper use of the screen time: “conduct, content, contact and commercial” (p. 9). Firstly, using digital and online media do not give any guarantees in keeping secret personal information. School-age children may not understand that all confident materials, messages, and photos may be out of safe hands. Secondly, the Internet (and sometimes TV as well) is full of pornographic, racist and violent content. Absolutely anyone can access such web sites, and, in some cases, it may seduce and then destroy the child’s psyche. Finally, children may be affected by “stranger danger” and then become a subject of stalking or harassment.
On the other hand, there are several positive outcomes as well. Proper use of modern technologies and the Internet give unlimited possibilities in humans’ development. It is quite apparent that children from a very young age need to accustom to the use of human achievements because the future is behind IT technologies. For example, access to scientific and fiction literature, information of academic accomplishments, educational videos provide learning, creating and personal expression. Another positive point is an opportunity of connecting with people, for example, family, friends and teachers.
However, the negative impact is still very high and the possible advantages do not overlap the disadvantages. The reason is that a small minority uses opportunities of electronic devices in appropriate way. Unfortunately, most parents are not able to set a positive example for the kids. The saddest thing is that smartphones harm the relationship between parents and children. This is more adults’ fault who also feel quite uncomfortable without sending posts, liking photos or replying to every news even during a conversation with the kid. In this case, the child possibly gets the message that he or she is less important than the phone.
In conclusion, despite possible advantages of digital technologies, too much screen time may have harmful effects on the children’s development. For example, behavior and educational problems, potential violence and sense of uselessness may occur. This is the reason why parents should give an example of how to use smartphones and control the time of using gadgets. Competent use of modern technologies is the key to a happy future for our generations.
American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Recommendations for Children’s Media Use. (2016). Web.
Blum-Ross, A., & Livingstone S. (2017). Families and screen time: Current advice and emerging research. London, England: Media Policy Project.