10 things to consider before giving your child a handheld device.



Last Friday evening, we decided to go to dinner for my Husband’s birthday. We invited many of our friends who have young children because we we’re bringing our kids as well. We all sat down at the table, and I could not help but notice how hard it was for our friend’s kids to interact with our children. They just seemed so shy and disconnected. We had been friends with this family for a while, but something seemed so different. The children, started throwing fits, and wouldn’t play nicely with our kids.

Instead, of disciplining their children, our friend’s pulled out 2 Apple iPad’s. One for each child. They gave the iPad’s to their children who were just recently crying and screaming, and all of a sudden the kids stopped. They became like zombie’s, grabbing the iPad’s and diving deep into a technologically induced coma, blankly staring at their screens. All the other children at the table became curious as to what the children with the tablets were doing. They all stopped coloring, and playing with their toys and became lost in the iPad screen.

My husband and I were stunned. The pleasant laughter of children vanished and now we were staring at zombie like children, who had blank stares on their faces. Is this what it’s like to have children so zoned into technology? We don’t allow screens at our house because our children are too young. But these children that had iPad’s were the same age! I began to doubt myself. Am I this out of touch with what’s going on in the world? Is it becoming the normal for parents to completely skip the obedience part of parenting, and resort straight to technology to keep their children non-disruptive? I really could not believe what I was seeing. The children weren’t even talking to each other or interacting. They were just staring at the screen.

I did a little research, and here are 10 reasons why handheld devices are bad for children.

  1. Brain Growth-Between the ages of 0-2, an infant’s brain grows extremely fast, tripling in size. This brain growth happens rapidly all the way until the age of 21. Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli. According to Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Brain stimulation that is caused by overexposure to technology (iPad, TV, iPhones, computers, laptops) have been shown to be associated with attention deficit disorders, cognitive delays, learning impairments, increased impulsiveness, decreased ability to self-regulate, and social disorders.
  1. Developmental Delays-Studies show that use of technology under the age of 12, can trigger delays in physical development because technology restricts movement. Movement restriction causes obesity, and under-developed bone growth.
  1. Obesity-According to studies, children who are allowed 1 or more devices in their bedrooms have a 30% increased chance of childhood obesity. 30% of children with obesity problems with develop diabetes, and are at a higher risk for an early stroke or heart attack, which shortens life expectancy.
  1. Sleep Deprivation-Out of children ages 9 and 10 years old, studies found that  75% of children are sleep deprived to such an extent that their school grades are detrimentally impacted. Studies found that 60% of parents to those sleep deprived children, do not supervise their children’s technology usage.
  1. Mental Illness-According to research done by Bristol University in 2010, the over usage of technology is a directly related factor in the rising rates of children with anxiety, depression, attachment disorders, autism, ADD, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and problematic child behavior.
  1. Aggression-Physical and sexual violence in media content directly affects our children in today’s society. The United States has categorized media violence as a Public Health Risk due to the impact on child aggression.
  1. Digital Dementia-High speed media content have been proven to attribute to attention deficit disorder. This also effects concentration and memory, because the brain pruning of neuronal tracts to the frontal cortex.
  1. Addictions-As society becomes more attached to their technology, parents become more and more detached from their children. Parental detachment towards children, directly relates to children becoming attached to their devices, which can result in a technological addiction.
  1. Real world detachment-It’s often easier for a parent to give a noisy child, a tablet or screen to help them quiet down. Children who are given technology when they are causing disruptions are not able to have real world obedience. They are not able to entertain themselves, and begin relying on technology as a coping method of entertainment.
  1. Don’t know how to interact with other children-The over usage of technology can stunt the social growth of children. When a child spends their time alone, or on a video game, they are less likely to learn social behavior and its effects their interaction among other children.

These are major things to consider when thinking about giving your child their own handheld device. What do you guys think? Does technology at such a young age help or hurt our children?