Negative Effects of Internet Use on Children

Electronic gadgets score high on the wish list of children today. Smartphones, tablets, laptops may be popular but how are they impacting your child. A look.

By Ashwin Dewan

Negative Effects of Internet Use on Children

Today’s tech-savvy children seemingly have the world on the tip of their hands. With just one touch or one slide, children have access to information about anything, anytime, anywhere. From social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram to others like YouTube, children are exposed to a mountain of information. Not to mention videogames that has them constantly hooked to the television even late at night.

Want to view the latest song or an award-wining documentary? Switch on YouTube. Curious about what your friends are up to? Open Facebook or Instagram. Tech toys have made the world that much smaller.

How much of a help are tech toys? What is their impact on the minds of young children?

Along with the advantages of tech toys, some disadvantages are bound to be there. Parents today are a worried lot because they believe that the future of children’s creativity and imagination is at risk of being relegated into the background as more and more tech toys invade homes.

Rewind back to the olden days when children used to play outdoor sports that was not only good for their health but also for their mental development. Materials such as building blocks, play dough, figurines, papers, colours and crayons provide ample opportunities to young children to use their imagination. Tech toys don’t do this – they simply require a punch of a button or a touch of an app to open. The rest is all automated as the child follows instructions laid out by the program.

It has often been seen that children who spend most their time watching TV or playing video games may spend less time interacting with others. An article in goodhousekeeping mentions how, in 2010, a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that most adolescents spend an average of 25 to 30 hours per week watching TV and using computers.

Some negative effects of spending too much time on tech toys include:

  • The creative thinking and imagination of children are hampered.
  • Shortened attention span in children.
  • Reduced opportunity to develop social skills.
  • Children become more passive or aggressive.
  • Lack of exercise that can lead to obesity and other negative health effects.

Parents should remember that providing young children with unlimited access to tech toys is not without its dangers. Prolonged exposure to tech toys could change how children start to think or view the world. Often, one of the results is damage to the child’s capacity for originality and thinking.

The tools children use for play has changed rapidly over the past few decades. Rather than playing outside, children are focusing on playing with tech toys.

There is no permanent solution to children playing with tech toys. However, moderation and mindfulness of how children use technology is imperative. Parents should teach children to strike a balance between the virtual world and the real world.