By Muzamil Arif
Children are increasingly attracted to the newest forms of technology . With the recent rise in popularity of smart phones and tablets, the use of such technological devices has become unavoidable and is now viewed as an integral part of life.It’s no secret that technology has become an integral component of daily life. In particular, it’s become rare to see children and teens without a digital device in hand wherever they go: restaurants, waiting rooms, parks, schools. The rapid pace at which toddlers, children, and teens are adopting technology into their daily lives has many questioning the effects it can have on their development.
Technology use is associated with increased risk of obesity in childrentype 2 diabetes mellitus,and all-cause mortality. It has also been associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome and a large range of physical and psychological disorders seen in technology-dependent children. One factor often identified as contributing to childhood obesity is the abundance of technology now available to most children, which discourages them from participating in more traditional physical activities. However, the wide range of technology available means it can exert a variety of effects on children’s participation in physical activity. The range of technology that children have access to has changed enormously over the past two decades, and today’s ‘digital universe’ is very different from the universe that many of us will have grown up in. Children of today are often referred to as ‘digital natives’, as they have been brought up using the internet and technology from a very youngage.
Technology-dependent children tend to have impaired quality of life and are often affected emotionally,socially, and academically Increased dependency on technology was associated with increaselevel of anxiety symptoms, depression, aggression, and attention andbehavioural problems. It was also associated with lower academic performance, Grade Point Average (GPA), language, math and reading achievementsFurthermore, increased screen-time use reduces children’s opportunities to interact and socialize with others, thereby affecting the normal development of healthy social skillsBecause technology use interrupts the daily activities of children, it can result in decreased physical activity. Approximately 3.2 million deaths per year globally are related to physical inactivity; it is thusa risk factor for high mortality. Physical activity is essential to stabilize blood pressure and glucoselevels, maintain normal body weight, improve sleep patterns, and improve immune response andmetabolism. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the developing child needs atleast one hourper day of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity. The benefit is higher ifthe daily activity exceeds 60 min.
Negative Effects:-Some negative effects of technology are. Increase risk and lack of privacy, risk of depression, obesity, falling grades, bullying, social interaction issues,musculoskeletal problems, sleep problems, emotional problems, and more.
Health Problems :-The overuse of mobile devices can be harmful to children’s health. The more they use mobile devices, the less physical activities they do. The problem is that playing games online is combined with snacking, substituting the balanced alimentation. As children spend more time in front of those screens, most of the time in the couch, less time they spend outside playing, running and burning off calories. Over time, those habits can lead to a significant weight gain.To prevent it from becoming a habit, parents can talk with their children about parental controls. The negative impacts of technology on children are not only limited to emotional and mental disorders. The subject also has a physical dimension.The following disadvantages of technology in child development may occur due to watching TV for a long time, using a computer or a tablet in the wrong sitting position, etc.Vision problems, Neck pain, Distortion of the skeletal structure of the body, Arm, hand, finger numbness, Overstrain etc.
Risk of depression. Teenagers and children who report more time using media are more likely to also report mental health issues. Depression is a key issue that is correlated with more media use. This has increased suicide rates and has lead to more youth needing mental health interventions like medicine and counselling. Experts believe time spent on social media or using technology can directly be tied to increased depression.
Eyestrain:- Technologies, such as handheld tablets, smartphones, and computers, can hold a person’s attention for long periods. This may leadto eyestrain.Symptoms of digital eyestrain can include blurred vision and dry eyes. Eyestrain may also leadto pains in other areas of the body, such as the head, neck, or shoulders.Several technological factors may lead to eyestrain, such as: screen time, screen glare, screen brightness, viewing too close or too far away, poor sitting posture, underlying vision issuesTaking regular breaks away from the screen may reduce the likelihood of eyestrain.
Obesity. Children who spend more time inside on their phones or tablets don’t spend as much time running and playing outside. They establish habits of technology use that doesn’t involve exercise.
Bullying. As technology flourishes, so does bullying. Children and teens are using technology and social media to bully other kids, without having to face them. Often called cyberbullying, this trend is increasing and getting more popular with even younger students.
Social interaction issues.With more time spent on technology, younger children are having issues with face-to-face social interactions. Many seem to prefer to text or talk on social media as opposed to talking to each other in-person. Even when children spend time together, they may spend more time texting or on their phones than actually being together.
Increased risk and lack of privacy.Teenagers and children have grown up in a technological world, and the idea of privacy is somewhat foreign to them. Cybersecurity is a huge element of tech today, but it isn’t always perfect. Hackers and criminals can utilize technology to steal identities and harass children. Technology has created an increase of theft, privacy issues, harassment, and more.
• Technology will continue to develop and its impact on physical activity levels is a growing area of research.While there are many negative impacts that can be connected to technology use, there are many positive impacts as well.
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