When is technology too much for your children?

Family using gadgets
Family using gadgets/ iStock

Technology has many benefits, but can it ever get too much?

Many kids start owning a cellphone or some sort of gadget from a young age.

Gone are the days when children would spend hours playing and interacting with other kids outside. Nowadays children are more entertained by their iPads, television, and video games.

According to AO.com survey children spend on average around 17 hours a week in front of a screen.

In 2013, the US Department of Health recommended that children under two years of age should not be in front of a screen at all, and over that age the maximum leisure screen time should be no more than two hours a day.

The French government has even banned digital terrestrial TV aimed at all children under three, while Australia and Canada have similar recommendations and guidelines.

In South Africa, however, there are no rules regarding the amount of time kids are allowed to be in front of a screen, but research has found that too much screen time for kids decreases their time spent on creative play which can result in them learning less and having less social skills.

Although there are great benefits to technology such as making learning easier, helping children to be tech-savvy and keeping them entertained, when does it get too much?

Addiction:
Some children are so addicted to technology that it affects their sleep, behaviour and diet, according to tfgclub.co.za.

If you find that your child becomes sulky when they can’t use their gadget, or they can’t even sleep without using their phones, this might be a cause for concern. It may mean your child is addicted to technology.

Anti-social
There’s a difference between a shy child and one that is just not interested in socializing with others. If you find that your child would rather be on his cellphone than engage with other kids or build relationships, it might be time to cut down on how much time you allow them to be on their gadgets. Encourage them to be social.

Not knowing how to self-occupy
There are so many things that children can do rather than be on their gadgets. If your child cannot find anything else to keep himself/herself occupied apart from gadgets, that is a problem.

Set a time limit on how long they can be on their gadgets and schedule time for other activities such as reading, homework and playing.

Image courtesy of iStock/ bernardbodo