North Texas Daily

Parents should stop handing kids phones for distraction purposes

Parents should stop handing kids phones for distraction purposes

Parents should stop handing kids phones for distraction purposes
February 26
16:02 2020

I have noticed that every time that I go to a grocery store or any retail store, I come across a child screaming bloody murder for their parent’s cellphone. It never fails — the parent always robotically hands their phone to their toddler and just accepts defeat in order to get their kids to be quiet. Then they continue about their shopping as a kid watches some cartoon on YouTube or play some game.

I find myself judging the parents who I watch give up so easily. I understand that I am not a parent myself so I shouldn’t get so worked up about these trivial things, but it has become increasingly common.

What parents don’t seem to take in to consideration is that there can be potential damage in simply surrendering a phone over to get their kids to not be loud.

The consequence is that handheld devices are in fact delaying the brain development for children under five years old that can result in speech delay. For kids who are a little bit older, this can cause early forms of depression and anxiety.

“We see parents who are very proud of children who can tap on apps and interact with the screen, but so far these swiping and tapping skills don’t seem to translate to much else,” said Dr. David Hill, a pediatrician and chair of the AAP’s Council on Communications and Media.

Hill also addressed early development of depression and anxiety. “We find that kids who use very little or a whole lot of social media seem to have more issues like anxiety and depression.”

Children at such an early age should not be developing such severe mental illnesses. Children should not have to go through these hardships at such early stages of life. Both these issues could be avoided by limiting activity of handheld devices.

Children under the age of three who are exposed to just technology and cell phones as a mean of distraction and play are more prone to end up as a statistic in the 49 percent who will develop a speech delay.

A study developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics shared that parents who are just as easily distracted by handheld devices are developing fewer interactions with their children. Changing heavy mobile device association can develop a stronger parent to child interaction and can help enhance behavior change.

The study also clarifies that having media as the only form of soothing a child will negatively impact a child’s behavior. This duo behavior change of mobile dependency could eliminate the old routine of tantrums in public places.

There is also little evidence that shows that apps on smart devices are educational. Apps that are promoted as educational do not seek professional assistance from specialists and educators.

Handing a developing mind a phone or tablet is like trying to place a cork into an endless flow of information. Children are constantly consuming the things they see on these handheld devices, but they are not practicing or retaining what they are taking in. There is no two-way communication and there is no social interaction which can develop issues in the future.

I am not saying parents who do this are bad parents. That is beyond the point. The point instead is that there needs to be a different distraction system set in place.

Helping create and stimulate young minds is more beneficial. Asking them for help while you are out shopping and letting them locate groceries and items is a better thing to do. Anything can be a learning process for such young minds, so choosing a better, less detrimental one will help shape their young minds more efficiently.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Ofelia Hernandez

Ofelia Hernandez

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