Too Much Time on Tablets and Smartphones Harming Your Child’s Social Skills?


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Today’s age group of children are growing up in a setting dissimilar to any we have experienced before. The appearance, and mass adoption of tablets and smartphones has greatly impacted just how youngsters are learning and spending their leisure time. How many times have you ever experienced a difficult child being pacified because they are permitted to play on a smartphone or tablet? Unfortunately, a new study has revealed that this technology could possibly be doing harm to our children’s psychological and social development.

An interesting study conducted by researchers at a prominent college showed that children between the ages of 18 – 36 months, when allowed to play with a tablet, became so distracted that they did not even recognise or respond to their own name being called. These same children, when playing with more traditional toys, not only reacted more socially to stimulus, but displayed signs of imaginative and creative play.

The issue is a contentious one, but you only have to look at the influence tablets and smartphones have had on wide sections of the adult population to see how this devices could negatively affect a child’s development. There are plenty of people who never seem to have their head out of their phones. Employee efficiency in office environments has been shown to decrease dramatically when workers have access to their smartphones. If these devices are so distracting to adults who should know better, why would they not be similarly engrossing to our children?

Children develop social skills through experience. Interacting with other children and engaging in interactive play and group play experiences are absolutely vital in helping children learn the social skills that they will rely on throughout their young adult and adult lives. By taking the easy option and allowing them ready access to tablets or smartphones, parents are often putting off a short term inconvenience by creating a far more serious long term problem.

The remedy? It’s quite simple. Restrict your child’s access to tablets or smartphones. A set amount of time per day, at a set time and only if the child’s behaviour warrants it is all the access that should be allowed. Similarly, parents can select applications and games that will help children develop particular skills, rather than simply picking the most colourful game with the most attention grabbing sounds. You can make your tablet or smartphone a learning tool, rather than something to distract and pass the time. In years to come, you will be glad that you did.