In the age of information technology it is very difficult to protect children from the use of various equipment, electronics and gadgets: computers, phones, tablets, etc.
Yes, and is it necessary? Perhaps the use of these devices for children contains a lot of benefits? Today, let’s talk about what positive and negative aspects there are in the use of computers and gadgets, and what should be done to ensure that they do not harm the child.
Children and computers
Computers and various gadgets (phones, tablets, etc.) have long been indispensable things in our lives. And they can be seen in the hands of even small children.
Gadgets and PCs can be used not only for communication and entertainment, but also for training. Today there are many educational programs, electronic diaries are introduced in schools, distance learning systems are used, etc.
In order to make the most of your child’s use of computers and other electronics and to reduce the negative impact, it is worth reading the tips on the proper use of technology.
Benefits of using gadgets and PC
PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones are good because they give you access to information on the Internet and allow you to use various programs. The following positive aspects of using these devices can be highlighted:
- Development of fine motor skills. Working on devices with joystick, buttons and touchscreen allows you to develop fingers and train fine motor skills. And tracking the movement of a computer mouse on the screen allows you to train the attention of your baby.
- Training of younger schoolchildren. It happens with the help of special training programs and games that use visual images and active forms of work of the child. Very good games in which the child is offered a problematic situation and need to find a solution, analyzing the source data, engaged in search and research activities. For example, it can be games with the construction of letters from lines, correlation of concepts with images, etc.
- Access to a large amount of useful information from home: on the Internet, students can read the latest news, find books, find interesting information about a great discovery, a traveller, a historical event, etc. The advantage of the Internet over the library is the instantaneous flow of new information.
- Formation of students’ skills of searching and filtering information. This skill is most actively formed in adolescence. The abundance of various information sites puts the student before the need to analyze all the information received and select from them reliable. In addition to search and filtering skills, this also develops the ability to think critically.
- Connection with classmates and teachers. Very good are the special blogs and social media groups created for students of a certain class. Here, teachers and students can exchange information and news, discuss controversial issues, discuss readings, work together on projects, etc.
The use of gadgets has many advantages, but it is necessary to follow some rules in order not to cause harm to health.
Rules for using computers and gadgets by children
To avoid unnecessary problems with too frequent or improper use of PCs and gadgets, it is necessary to remember that:
- Familiarize your child with these devices at the earliest two years
- Work should be supervised by parents at an early age
- At 2-3 years old, you can spend no more than 15-20 minutes a day at a gadget or computer; at 4-5 years old, no more than 20-25 minutes; at 6-8 years old, no more than an hour; at 9-16 years old, no more than 2-3 hours
- The distance from the eyes to the display of the device should be 50-70 cm
- The brightness of the display should be low
- When using the device, the elbows of the child should not hang – a support is required
- It is recommended that a footrest be placed under the computer table to prevent the legs from being negatively affected by prolonged sitting
- When working with the device, the back of the student must be straight
Try to give the gadget as little as possible to the preschool child. It is necessary to explain that this device is intended for work, and instead of watching cartoons it is better to run development programs and videos.
For older children who use computers on their own, it is necessary to emphasize that the information on the Internet is not always reliable. Therefore, it is necessary to choose it very carefully. Parental control can be set up to limit the time of use of the device.
Minus the use of gadgets and PCs
Frequent and irregular use of gadgets can lead to a number of negative consequences:
- Health problems. Frequent sitting in front of a computer or tablet can lead to redness and dry eyes, impaired vision, impaired posture, problems with muscles (due to their prolonged immobility), oxygen starvation of the brain (as a result of compression of blood vessels and lack of fresh air), and sleep disorders.
- Psychological problems. Children who use gadgets a lot from an early age and spend little time with peers may have problems with social adaptation. They find it difficult to communicate with people, find common ground, are timid and shy, know little about life outside the computer and are often lost in real-life situations.
- Addiction. This is the most serious consequence of using PCs and gadgets. It is influenced by many aspects (frequent use of the device, lack of other interests in life, personal problems, etc.) and has a number of symptoms.
Specialists highlight the following symptoms of computer, gadget or Internet addiction:
- Fanatical tracking of new technologies and uncontrolled desire to receive them (frequent requests to buy a device, whims and hysteria, if this does not happen)
- Euphoria when using the device – the child feels happy only when he or she is able to hold the gadget in his or her hands, sit at the computer, surf the Internet, etc.
- Lack of other interests, goals and aspirations – the student forgets everything and has no other joys, spends all the time only with the device
- Neglect of family and friends: family members and friends are sidelined – the child has little or no contact with them
- Emergence of problems in school (behavioral problems, truancy, bad grades, etc.)
- Negative reaction (crying, aggression, hysteria, resentment, etc.) to attempts to limit the work with the device
Of course, schoolchildren’s real dependence on gadgets is quite rare. But if any of the above symptoms have appeared, it is already an alarming call for parents. In this case, it is necessary to urgently distract the child from the harmful effects of a PC or gadget.