It is nothing new that children are interested in the introduction of technology into their lives. Early video games were well-received many years ago. Before they were available in homes, the arcade was the place to be for social activity and games. Early computers made their way into classrooms. Kids learned about hard and soft disks and some basic graphics coding for a fun elective class. There is an entire new generation of children growing up with the recent advances of technology. Children in their teens now are the first to have grown up using cell phones on a regular basis in their younger years.
There are some obvious changes to their behavior and health.
Exercise is still a part of many children’s lives. Sports teams are still in high demand in communities and schools. Most neighborhoods still have kids out on their bikes in the evenings as well. The amount of time that children spend moving, however, has changed immensely. They are likely to come home from a sports game and immediately sit down with their phone or video game system. It is also common to see children in the stands at a sports event playing on their phones. This increased time sitting in one place has made the sedentary lifestyle more prominent, increasing some health issues.
Boredom and Addiction
Kids are losing the ability to entertain themselves. They expect to have a screen in front of them at all times. When parents put phones away, kids often do not know what to do with themselves. There is never a time of the day when a child does not have access to a phone, tablet, or computer. This convenience, at first, was a great thing for parents. Kids can easily be entertained on long car trips, or when waiting in lines at the grocery store. When a phone is not available, however, we have begun to see adverse behavior. Instead of talking with a parent or sibling, kids may throw tantrums or cry about being bored. The ability to creatively think of a solution is disappearing.
Many children are feeling stressed when they have no access to their electronic devices, as well. Punishment in homes may include taking away a phone for a day or two. This has shown to significantly increase stress in children. They may cry inconsolably and feel completely cut-off from their friends. This is in line with addictive behavior. Children are unable to cope normally without their phones in some cases.
The social lives of children are changing greatly as well. Conversations with friends seem to happen more on the phone or social media, even when kids are in the same room. The ability to meet new people and cope with group social situations is becoming more difficult for kids to navigate. They may feel anxious or awkward talking face to face. Bullying is also an issue with kids being able to hide behind a screen. They may say things on the computer that they would never say in person.
Common physical ailments, such as obesity and diabetes, are on the rise in today’s children. The sedentary lifestyle can easily contribute to an overweight status. Kids also tend to grab sugary snacks when they sit down to play games. This can contribute the prevalence of diabetes in children. Anxiety and depression is on the rise as well. This is not only in children, however. All age groups are suffering from current lifestyle changes due to technology. Adults spend incredible amounts of time in front of screens at work. Children may spend hours looking at a screen and limit their time outdoors. Sunshine is essential in providing vitamin D.
The link to anxiety and depression can be proven when lack of sunlight is considered. This is also seen in many areas where it is dark for long periods of time. Exercise is the best remedy for these ailments, as well. Kids are not experiencing daily exercise in many cases due to technology.
Children are being raised very differently with the increase of technology. It has changed how they play, do schoolwork, and socialize. The health implications can be severe if screen time is not limited. Balance is key to keeping our children healthy in the face of technological developments.