Researchers estimate that 25% of children aged 2-5 and 56% of children aged 11-13 have a smartphone. Moreover, the fact that phones and tablets have replaced many other children’s games is hardly a surprise. Regrettably, children are begging for these devices before they learn to get dressed without help.
Children learn to regulate their emotions and language skills by mimicking adults. Therefore, they need to watch adults have conversations on a regular basis. As children get more screen time, they are missing out on critical milestones in their development. Here are 5 outcomes of excessive phone use in children.
1. Poor Academic Performance
Most children take their phones to school and use them in class. Often, they play games on their phones during breaks by themselves or with friends. As a result, they don’t pay attention in class or do so to an insufficient degree. Moreover, they fail to obtain important skills and knowledge. As a result of excessive phone use, they often fail to study and do poorly on exams.
2. Concerning Effects of Radiation
While there is no solid evidence for radiation theory, many experts claim cell phones expose people to harmful frequencies. A fully developed adult brain will be harmed to a minimal extent by such emitted frequencies. However, we can’t say the same about a child’s developing nervous system. The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain continue to develop throughout adolescence. Moreover, these brain regions are closest to the earlobe, where people tend to hold their phones. Studies have shown the brain is actively developing during childhood and teenage years. Therefore, electromagnetic waves emitted from electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets could potentially harm neuronal development.
3. Impaired Development
In a recent large-scale study, researchers have determined that screen time can be harmful to children’s development, especially for children under 5 years old. According to the study authors, children who spent too much time in front of their screens missed important developmental milestones. This is likely because children need to develop their motor skills by playing and exploring their environment. However, excessive screen time often interferes with such activities, causing preschoolers to miss important developmental milestones. According to researchers, even smaller intervals of screen time can add up to cause undesirable outcomes in child development. Therefore, it is important to set limits and establish healthy habits when it comes to electronic device use for children.
4. Disrupted Sleep
Children will stay up long past bedtime to chat with friends, scroll through social media feeds, or play games. This can result in reduced time spent sleeping, which causes restlessness and fatigue. Moreover, disrupted sleep patterns affect children’s academic life, making them too tired to focus in class. The domino effect of disrupted sleep, therefore, impacts every aspect of their lives.
5. Poor Communication Skills
Smartphone and internet use can impact children’s emotional development and communication skills. Smartphone use in particular can result in detachment from others’ emotions due to loss of in-person contact. Therefore, children can develop lower capacity for empathy as a result.