Is technology having a bad effect on children?

Living in the technical era, we have become reliant on our devices, writes Abbie Dodson.

Should young children be given mobile devices?
Should young children be given mobile devices?

We look to our screens for news, updates on our friends, and entertainment.

The latter is perhaps the most important.

Each week, I receive a ‘usage report’ from my phone, which averages at three hours of screen time a day.

I was shocked by this and know that there are people out there who use their devices more than I do and wondered what their usage report would divulge.

For my generation, we have grown alongside technology.

I remember when I was around five-years-old, and broadband was only accessible at certain times on one device.

I also remember when phone contracts were non-existent, and all of my friends used ‘pay as you go’, pleading with their parents for a ten-pound top up.

Whilst my own interaction with technology as a child was limited, I notice that children now are just as obsessed with phones and tablets as their parents.

I acknowledge how hard parenting can be, and how easy it can be to distract children with technology, but is this tactic healthy?

It is arguable that children should be able to have a device as a present if they want one, but unsupervised online access can make them vulnerable to a whole host of dangers.

I spoke to a mother who used ‘phone management’ to control her child’s use of his mobile.

At night, she enabled parental controls on the phone to restrict his usage after realising that his sleep deprivation was caused by using his mobile.

Studies have shown that the LED display of a phone screen can release chemicals which deter sleep.

This was an issue for the said child, who was missing school due to tiredness.

Phone addiction is a real problem, but do children really get obsessed with their phones?

I think the saddest part of the digital age for me is watching children sat beside one another in parks or shopping centres documenting their experience as opposed to, well, experiencing it.

My childhood memories are all fondly remembered, and include climbing trees, riding my bike and ‘playing out’.

Children today don’t seem to do this as much.

No-one wants to think of their child spending their formative years in a cyber world, opposed to living life carefree.

It’s easy to point the finger and conclude that children are addicted to their phones, and that the use of them is dangerous, but only children know the extent of how their devices affect them.

I believe that the best way forward is educating children about online safety and stressing the importance of putting their mobiles down every once in a while.