Addiction to Gadgets: the Child Cannot Take Eyes Away From the Phone/tablet. What to Do?
Many 2 and 3-year-old children don’t speak well. They cannot dress, are still wearing diapers, and walk with a pacifier. However, they know how to use gadgets, and children and gadgets have become inseparable. It’s our modern reality.
An early acquaintance of children and the internet and its usage on gadgets cause addiction to online media, gaming, etc., in almost a third of teenagers from the ages of 10 – 16.
Why is it dangerous?
It causes developmental delays, health issues, difficulties in peer communication, aggression, bad sleep, and depression. Of course, depriving the child of all gadgets and stopping kids from using the internet is like sending them to a colony with a strict regime. It’s an extremely harsh punishment, especially for a teenager. Use it very carefully in order not to provoke uncontrolled aggression.
What to do?
Don’t take it away completely but teach your child that you’ll limit time for the child being online. Don’t let your kid under 5 years old use the tablet or phone more than 1 hour a day. Also, control the content to which the child has access.
“Zoning” is also very effective. By using “zoning,” separate places can be designated as “free” from gadgets. For example, during certain hours, the “zone” can be in the kitchen or bedroom.
In this way, the child won’t be distracted by the phone or tablet while eating or going to bed. However, adults must also follow that rule and practice “zoning” while in the same area.
Is that all?
If you deprive the child of something, give them an alternative. Fill the time free from gadgets or kids using the internet with activities: sports, art, street walks, or active games at home.
If you simply take away the tablet from the child and give them a construction set, the miracle won’t happen overnight. It’s important that the child work collaboratively with family or friends. When adults show an interest in the activity, children are less likely to become pouty or aggressive.
Of course, it’s not always convenient for an adult to drop everything and initiate playtime. Sometimes, the tablet or phone helps you out – it makes the child quiet and calm for a while.
If the child becomes hysterical and cannot wait for 5 minutes until you finish your personal responsibilities, it means that your child has not yet learned to understand that other people also have their own needs and interests.
The absence of this understanding can be a shocking reality for the child when they grow up.
You should teach such understanding gradually and from early childhood through limitation. Small disappointments (mom turns off cartoons after 15 minutes) will help the child to learn how to cope with such little outbursts of anger if you don’t react to the child’s whims. And they will be forced to switch to another activity. This will develop a healthy relationship between children and gadgets.
- Learn How Long Should Parents Let Kids Watch TV at Different Ages?
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