Beware of technology @home.

Technology is changing the face of childhood.

Today, more young children know how to play a computer game than ride a bicycle.

The question is, how does technology affect these developing minds?

Let us answer this question first.

1. Rapid brain growth Between 0 and 2 years, infant’s brains triple in size, and continue in a state of rapid development to 21 years of age. Early brain development is determined y environmental stimuli, or lack thereof. Stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to technologies (cell phones, internet, iPads, TV), has been shown to be associated with attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impassivity and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums.

2. Delayed Development

Technology use restricts movement, which can result in delayed development. One in three children now enter school developmentally delayed, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement. Use of technology under the age of 12 years is detrimental to child development and learning.

3. Epidemic Obesity

TV and video game use correlates with increased obesity. Children who are allowed a device in their bedrooms have 30%increased incidence of obesity. 30% of children with obesity will develop diabetes, and obese individuals are at higher risk for early stroke and heart attack, gravely shortening life expectancy (Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2010). Largely due to obesity, 21st century children may be the first generation many of whom will not outlive their parents.

4. Sleep Deprivation

60% of parents do not supervise their child’s technology usage, and 75% of children are allowed technology in their bedrooms. 75% of children aged 9 and 10 years are sleep deprived to the extent that their grades are detrimentally impacted.

5. Mental Illness

Technology overuse is implicated as a causal factor in rising rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis and problematic child behavior.

6. Aggression

Violent media content can cause child aggression. Young children are increasingly exposed to rising incidence of physical and sexual violence in today’s media.

7. Digital dementia

High speed media content can contribute to attention deficit, as well as decreased concentration and memory. Children who can’t pay attention can’t learn.

8. Addictions

As parents attach more and more to technology, they are detaching from their children. In the absence of parental attachment, detached children can attach to devices, which can result in addiction.

9. Radiation emission

In May of 2011, the World Health Organization classified cell phones (and other wireless devices) as a category 2B risk (possible cause of cancer) due to radiation emission (WHO)

Now, if we agree to these detrimental effects, we must act to engage our children in alternative activities so that they spend lesser time with mobile devices and television.

1. First of all, ensure that your child plays outdoors at least 4-5days in a week.

2. Plan regular day trips with child to places like park, museum, zoo etc.

3. Enroll your child for recreational or sports programs say dance class, lawn tennis/badminton training.

4. Encourage and get involved with kids in outdoor activities which will ensure you spend more time & share fun time with kids. This shall increase bonding with your child.

5. Encourage story-time. Teach children social interaction & interpersonal communication skills.

6. Reduce SCREEN TIME i.e., time spent on mobiles, TV, Tablets etc by setting time limits. Ideally, limit screen time to ZERO for children less than 2years; 60minutes for age 2-8years; 2hours for 8years and more (but restrict mobile device usage to only 30minutes).

Most important - Be a Role Model - Limit your own screen time.

It's all about keeping our children physically active for strengthening muscles & bones, maintain healthy weight, develop co-ordination, building confidence and social skills.

Let's make our new generation an ACTIVE GENERATION so that they create a DYNAMIC INDIA.

Disclaimer : "The information is based on standard medical guidelines and is purely informative. Not to be used for treatment.”

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