Technology is a fact of life in modern culture, and there’s no question that devices, including cell phones and video game systems, affect our children. As with most things, there are pros and cons..
Education and imagination have been positively influenced. Games, devices, and software have been developed to improve most areas of modern life including academics, physical skills, communication, health, and social skills. Teen drug use is down, and researchers suggest one of the factors may be the availability of devices for entertainment. As time passes, more and more parents grew up with video games, computers, Internet access, and cell phones. This means younger parents are more knowledgeable about controlling children’s exposure to media.
The bad news is there are negative effects to any technology no matter how well intended. In this case, too much of a good thing can lead to disrupted sleep patterns, obesity, diminished social skills, and mood issues. Cyberbullying concerns parents and educators, and road safety experts grapple with the issues of distracted driving and walking which can lead to serious injuries or death. Internet access exposes your child to information, but some of that information may not be what you have in mind, and predators could pretend to be anyone. That’s why it’s important to monitor your child or teen’s devices and online activities, no matter how dictatorial it may seem.
What You Can Do
As a parent, it’s critical to understand the benefits and risks of any technology used by your child. The first step is to educate yourself. Is the content of a game age-appropriate? Is the device or game online or offline? Is the device connected to a private network, open Wi-Fi, or mobile networks? Are parental controls activated and effective? Are you and your child up to date on Internet safety? After that, it all comes down to balance.
Making and enforcing rules is easier said than done. If you have health concerns related to technology, consult with your pediatrician for the latest findings. Request an appointment at Pediatrix today.