As parents we are always proud of our children and now a days it is not uncommon for parents to be proud of how tech-savvy their children are, respective of their age.
Parents never fail to remember the first time their toddler unlocked their phone or played her first game. Some even go ahead and share videos on social media showing off how fast their children can swipe through various apps on their tablet or how their child peeks into the settings and switches on the wi-fi instantly or how quickly they can disable the flight mode. While a part of this is definitely good for a child’s development. It’s important to know how much is too much. And what are the signs that could mean your young one is getting “addicted” to technology.
This post is the first in the series that will deal with different aspects of digital addiction in children and how parents can realize if things are crossing the threshold. Signs of addiction to technology may vary a lot, from kid to kid, so it’s important to keep a check on your own children and not start comparing them with other kids.
1. Your child gets cranky and throws tantrums when access to a certain device is restricted:
The very first sign of addiction is repeated tantrums. Children get used to staring at screens, so much sovthat the moment the device runs out of battery, they turn cranky, yell and shout. Aggressive behaviour can also be seen in some children. They will not shy away from hitting or biting their parents or siblings.
2. Your child spends a vast amount of time glued to gadgets:
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children aged two and older have no more than one or two hours of screen time. And babies below two watch nothing at all. In order to keep screen time under control, it’s important to set limits from day one. You can not expect your children to follow a scheduled screen time after getting used to watching it all day long.
3. Your child refuses to go out or is reluctant about activities they previously enjoyed:
Until a few weeks ago, your child enjoyed going out to the park and playing with other children. And now, she refuses to step out of the house? May be she’s starting to get addicted. Children start showing reluctance towards the activities they previously enjoyed doing. Because any activity that doesn’t involve technology would look to stagnate and boring to a child who is deeply attached to gadgets. They want to remain at home so they don’t have to leave their gadgets and step out.
4. Your child agrees to do anything in exchange of some screen time:
If your child agrees to clean up the all mess she just made, by scattering her toys all across the room in exchange of her iPad? May be she’s getting addicted. Children often finish their meals while staring at their tablet or watching their favourite cartoon. They will gradually agree to do pretty much anything to satisfy they need to get back their favourite gadgets. This could eventually signal a huge security threat for the child.
5. Your child doesn’t get adequate sleep or has a very irregular sleep pattern.
A child who slept peacefully for hours together at night and always had a scheduled nap time, starts to wake up in the middle of the night and refuses to go back to sleep? This could be a sign that she’s getting too attached to technology. Irregular sleep pattern could make them fussy and might disturb their daily routine.
6. Your child has a gadget for her own:
Does your child have her OWN tablet? This could be the starting point of their addiction to gadgets. When a child has his/her own gadgets and completely understands that she owns it. There’s no way, she’s going to stop and listen to what you have to say. Never ever go to your child and say “There you go that’s YOUR brand new iPad”.
It’s totally fine if you let them use your own gadgets and take it back from them when you think it’s time. You still hold authority. But you can’t go to her and ask her to put HER gadget away. She will simply say NO.
What’s your take on digital addiction in children? Leave me a comment below, I would love to know it. 🙂
* The opinion mentioned above is purely based on our own experience with our children and is not a proven one. This article is meant for helping other parents going through the same situation and not to preach anything.
- The first sign of subtle addiction is repeated tantrums when access to a certain device is being restricted.
- Refusing to go out and play instead preferring his/her tablet/phone.
- Reduced quality and quantity of sleep, irregular sleep patterns.
- Parents have to tempt the kid with gadgets, to make them eat or do a thing.
- Parents buy them their own tablet/ other gadgets to avoid them taking their own.
In the next post we will see what are the affects of digital addiction, on both parents and kids.