Smart gadgets are soon replacing, or in some countries have already replaced, the “pacifier”! As astounding as that sounds; it is a fact that many parents, child psychologists and doctors have reluctantly, but definitely, come to agree upon.
Gone are the days when doodle toys, building blocks and squeaky ducks were the go-to toys for parents to keep their young ones engaged or distracted. Now, all these have been replaced by smart phones, Pads and Tabs. It is true that these modern toys keep the children engaged and the parents relieved; but, for how long?!
As George Putic mentions in his article, “Indian Doctors Warn of Gadget Addiction Consequences”:
“…the number of young children with chronic pain in upper extremities is on the rise.”
And the reason:
“They are not ageing, they haven’t had an accident, their age is like, under 10, they are not complaining, the blood reports are fine, their X-rays are fine, their MRI’s are fine, then where is the culprit?…common thing that is happening amongst all children…smart phones and the gadgets…”
That about, to a great extent, sums up the price people are finally paying for converting smart gadgets into modern-day toys! How often do we hear parents proudly proclaiming that their two and three year olds are aces with gadgets!
And a few years from then, it wouldn’t be surprising to hear the same parents complain about an array of chronic pains that their children are suffering from. Although, it may take some more time for the parents to realize that allowing their children to become “aces” is what is causing all the health issues that was so far associated only with aged people!
Smart Gadgets Becoming Objects of Entertainment
Gadgets that were meant to make tasks easier and faster are actually becoming objects of entertainment. When tasks get done faster, you are actually meant to use them lesser. But practically, with more time in hand, people are spending more time with these same gadgets to keep themselves entertained!
Probably, the makers of these gadgets didn’t think of such a development; and so their design does not support hours of uninterrupted use. Although their batteries might! And never in their dreams would they have thought of a scenario where these would be converted into play toys.
All said, the reality is, these gadgets have transformed into “pacifiers” that not only take care of toddlers but also adolescents and teenagers. And it shows! Kids as young as two and three years and up to college-goers – all seem to suffer from the same physical issues. It ranges from wrist and neck injuries to chronic headaches and vision problems.
The younger the child, the greater the negative impact; because as experts suggest – gadgets are not required for the development of a child, be it physical or psychological! What kids need is a lot of one-to-one time with their parents and siblings; but what they seem to be getting is a lot of “me” time with gadgets!
And hours on these gadgets is leading to a lot of “postural deformities” in kids that are feared to have lifelong consequences. Children below the age of 5 years are exposed to three times the knowledge than what they can handle and what they are supposed to be exposed to! And now we have parents complaining that children are no more what they are supposed to be – innocent and cute.
But what we seem to forget is all this knowledge exposure doesn’t make them strong, they are still the fragile little things that nature meant them to be. And the result of this deadly combination – attention deficit, impaired learning and delays in cognitive development are fast replacing ability to focus, normal cognitive development and smarter learning.
So, are smart gadgets really making our kids smarter? The answer would have been a “yes” if parents had decided to smartly use these gadgets and teach their children to use them in a similar manner. Unfortunately, the reality has been far from this. People have been using gadgets with an addictive frenzy and they have been blind to their children adopting the same manner.
In fact, they have been blindly proud about it; unaware of the price that they would have to finally pay for it! There have even been extreme incidents where youngsters have finally died or become socio-phobic, thanks to their gadget addiction.
But the good news; more and more people are becoming aware of this addiction. So, whether it is parents and educational institutions or child psychologists and doctors; all are trying to create an awareness of the need to curtail use of gadgets, especially among the very young.
Let’s face it, gadgets have become an integral part of our life and they will continue to be so; in fact, their usage and availability will only increase further.
What is needed is awareness on how to use them smartly and determine how much of priority they need to have in our lives; especially, in those of our children. And, we need to teach them the right way of handling these gadgets.
As Dr. Vanjara states in the article:
“…the best remedies for already-existing pain are daily exercises…”
And the best way to prevent it is by teaching our children the right method of holding and handling various gadgets. Not to mention, the need to teach them the importance of restricting their usage. As parents we need to teach them the joys of going out into the open air and playing – playing with friends. Because that is what teaches them social behaviour, which is so very absent in our present generation.
In our race to make our kids smarter and more intelligent we have unwittingly made them socio-phobic, lopsided in their development, confused with knowledge overdose and presented them with physical deformities that will stay with them for a lifetime!
It is time we changed our attitude and got out of this “boomeranging” situation. Because if we are not smart enough to do it now; then, according to Dr. Vanjara:
“…we will see not only physical but also psychological and emotional ailments stemming from their excessive use.”
So, let’s get smarter and use smart gadgets the way they were meant to be – smartly!