Technology such as smartphones and tablets has become a huge—and permanent—part of our society, which is still a bit bizarre for folks that grew up in previous generations that had to rely on the encyclopedias at the library in order to look things up for a term paper or important class project.
Sure, video games were definitely still a thing, but they surely weren’t nearly as elaborate as the ones that are being produced in this day and age.
Of course, parents are split about the role of technology in their children’s lives. Some don’t want their little one to have much, if any, kind of screen time until they are a certain age. Others feel that it is important to introduce their children to such devices and give them a certain amount of age-appropriate screen time in order to prepare them for living and working in the digital era.
The Independent points out that children that are allowed to have screen time from the time they are young are often more active and apt to play after playing certain games and can have a better memory for retaining facts than their peers whose parents were very strict with technology.
For parents that aren’t sure if they should keep their children from technology, the following is a list of the pitfalls of being too strict with screen time.
Child Trend points out that schools are by and large moving away from relying strictly on old-fashioned methods of research such as looking facts up in an encyclopedia for a term paper and are now utilizing the Internet. For example, a professor might want their students to read an article on an academic website that they have to search for via Google.
For parents that are extremely strict about their child not being allowed to have sort of screen time until they’re a teenager, this could be detrimental due to the fact that they won’t have the skills they need to look things up online—which is something they’re going to need for school.
In an effort to keep their children from being glued to their smartphone at all hours of the day and night, some parents feel it is best to keep them from getting one until they are well into their teen years.
New Scientist points out that teaching a child how to use a smartphone before they become a teenager can actually be beneficial since they can use it to watch educational shows such as Sesame Street or play with apps that are designed to boost things like memory recognition or math skills like performing addition and subtraction in their heads.
Digiparenthood writes that another benefit of allowing children to grow up with age-appropriate screen time is that they have way better hand-eye coordination than their peers whose parents forbade them to touch a device when they were little kids.
Whether it is with a video game in which the player has to defeat a villain or an educational app where they have to follow an object on the screen in order to figure out a puzzle, this helps to improve their hand-eye coordination and will come in handy when it is time for your little one to learn how to write and draw.
New Scientist adds that another downside of being too strict with screen time is that it could lead to your child’s cognitive development moving a bit slower than their classmates that became fluent in technological devices from a very young age.
Research says that children that watch age-appropriate educational television programming on their devices often do much better than their peers who didn’t when it comes to taking a test to see if they are ready to start school. Science also is showing that children that struggle to read regular books often do better if they can download the e-book and read it on a device.
Parade writes that growing up with screen time in moderation often leads to children learning how to be more cooperative. Take the kind of video games where you have to play with others and work together as a team in order to succeed. It may see silly to adults, but it’s actually a great tool to teach your son or daughter how to work well with others and brainstorm with their peers to succeed.
All of these are important life skills that your child won’t get a chance to learn until it is almost too late if you are way too stern regarding the rules for screen time.
Before technology became so deeply engrained in our society, it was pretty common for teachers to see the quiet children hang back in class and not volunteer to answer a question because they were shy.
According to New Scientist, Early Years and Primary Education Researcher Rosie Flewitt of the University of London has performed research that shows that increased screen time and use of devices such as tablets is actually a great way to get quieter children to talk more in class since all they have to do is follow icons or listen to words being spoken instead of reading a ton of material at once.
According to Digiparenthood, the use of devices and age-appropriate screen time tends to means that your child will develop better hand-eye coordination. One perk of this increased coordination is that you won’t have to worry that they are going to constantly drop their smartphone or tablet and get a crack in the screen.
On the other hand, children that aren’t given the same luxuries won’t have as good hand-eye coordination and that can lead to them being very clumsy when it comes to holding device like a smartphone or using a tablet to slowly type out an email to their teacher.
Parade points out that age-appropriate educational television shows and apps can actually help boost toddlers’ skills in letter recognition, understanding of basic stories and the concepts contained in the plot and sound association with letters.
All of these skills can give these children a bit of a boost over their peers that didn’t watch the exact same television shows or play the same educational apps when it comes time for them to enroll in preschool or kindergarten and make learning their lessons—especially reading and writing-- a bit easier. It can also help foster a life-long love of learning too.
New Scientist points out that age-appropriate amounts of screen time can also help boost a child’s communication skills. Not only will they have more opportunities to make new friends at school because they can ask if a classmate enjoys playing a certain app and if they do, they’ll start talking excitedly to one another about it, but multi-player video games also teach children how to communicate effectively with one another in order to move up to the next level.
For children that didn’t have the opportunity to play as many video games or use educational apps due to their parents’ strict rules, they can lag behind when it comes to being able to communicate effectively with their peers.
Parade points out that by being more free with screen time and letting children play games on their smartphones or playing video games with their friends means that their self-confidence will slowly but steadily improve because the virtual reality world allows children to make mistakes in a safe and- approachable way until they manage to figure out the right path to success.
In contrast, children that didn’t grow up with such items might be more fretful about their mistakes and might start to feel very embarrassed when they mess up in front of family, friends or their classmates at school.
Motherly points out that being too strict with your child’s screen time can backfire on parents badly because it is essentially telling them that they do not have the faith that their child has enough impulse control to log off for the night.
Kids, especially nowadays, don’t always have the ability to make many choices in their life until they hit a certain age. By playing video games or using an educational app, they are given the opportunity to take charge of their own life (at least for a brief period of time) and make decisions in order to ace the game.
Some parents might try to keep their children away from screens at all cost because of the misguided notion that too much screen time means that their little one won’t be as active as their mom and dad were at that age.
The Independent points out that this isn’t true and one study showed that children that played a virtual bat game created by PBS Kids and Wild Kratts that allowed players to move their arms to mimic the flying mammal, the kids that were participating in the research endeavor kept pretending to be bats long after the game was finished and was even able to recite many of the facts they learned while playing the game too.
ID Tech writes that children who are allowed to play games such as Minecraft where the player has to set out and achieve a goal all by themselves tend to show a boost when it comes to being a self-starter. This is an excellent skill to learn early on in life, especially if your child plans to going to college one day in the future and they have to urge themselves to get a head start on writing their term paper.
Plus, teaching a child to become a self-starter by not being so strict with screen time and what they’re allowed to watch and play also means that there’s less of a chance that they will procrastinate when it comes to completing things like chores or their homework assignments.
Motherly notes that children of parents that aren’t so uptight about screen time often display a higher amount of curiosity about the world. For example, a child that gets engrossed in a popular video game but is confused about one of the rules can easily satisfy their curiosity by going on Google and looking for a clear explanation of the game’s rules on websites or even online forums.
Screen time also foster’s a child curiosity because it teaches them from an early age that if they want to know the answer to something, all they have to do is hit a search engine and they’ll be able to find all the answers to their questions with just a few clicks of a button.
Motherly writes that another perk that children that are allowed to play video games and engage with technology via age-appropriate limits for screen time often learn cost-benefit analysis skills, especially if the game they are playing requires their character to barter with the characters of other users for the necessary items that they need in order to move up to the next level.
On the flip side, if your child doesn’t have that kind of opportunity due to a lack of screen time, their analytical skills might become a bit rusty and their social skills can take a bit of a nosedive too.
ID Tech points out that children that are allowed to use devices often display a higher entrepreneurial spirit and aren’t as passive than the kids that weren’t given the same chance due to the fact that it is now very easy for people to make video blogs where they discuss their favorite game or review a new app for others online to enjoy.
Their interest in technology might even lead to pursuing knowledge about coding and similar topics, which could lead to your child experimenting with creating things like their very own basic website or even developing a new app when they’re an adult.
According to Parade, children that are raised with more lax rules about screen time are often able to make connections between the lessons they learned pretty quickly. For example, they might read an e-book and they’ll be able to apply the moral of the book’s story to what happened to the historical figure that they just learned about in school during history class.
Unfortunately, children that don’t have that kind of access to screen time aren’t able to make these kinds of connections between what they learned as fast as their peers that have been doing this kind of thing since they were a toddler.
Digiparenthood notes that becoming fluent in technology can help your child improve his or her language skills, especially if you introduce them to educational apps on their devices that teach them new words and how to correctly pronounce said word; needles to say that this makes a parent’s life a lot easier during the toddler years.
Plus, using multisensory education apps on devices from a very young age can also help your child learn how to speak a lot faster than their peers whose parents told them that they weren’t allowed to use that sort of thing until they hit a certain age.
Motherly writes that the increase in technology has made it easier for students to be less fretful about tests due to the fact that many schools have shifted from physical tests to offering them online because it is easier for the teachers to grade the results.
There’s also the fact that many teachers prefer to be sent assignments either through venues such email or Google Docs, which means it is less stressful for children to communicate with their teachers and they can focus more on learning rather than fretting over how they have to talk to someone face to face.
The Independent points out that children that are allowed to have age-appropriate amounts of screen time often enjoy better communication with their parents because they often get excited about things like games, apps, etc., especially if their mom or dad asks them questions about the content of the video game they just played or the e-book that they’re reading.
As a result, children that don’t get a chance to have much, if any, screen time might struggle to have good communication skills with their parents since they’re unable to have the chance to learn something new via technology and tell their mom and dad all about what they just did.