Scientists Warn Smartphones Can Cause Mental Health Problems In Young Children

The world continues to change around us very quickly. Everywhere you go nowadays you see elementary school children with their own smartphones, or toddlers playing games on tablets or phones that belong to the parents.

It seems as if we have become a digital world and it has impacted every part of our lives. There are some good factors that come out of the use of electronics but there have also been some risks associated with it as well.

A high school biology experiment conducted by five students found that radiation associated with a Wi-Fi network may be why some children are having a difficulty with sleeping and concentrating.

400 cress seeds were used for the experiment and they were divided into 12 containers. When the cress seeds were kept a considerable distance from the Wi-Fi router, they grew strong and healthy. When they were next to the router, very little growth was seen.

This experiment captured the attention of the world last year and it did so for a good reason. We just have a surface knowledge of our phones and the systems that are used for operating them. We have no idea of how our health is affected.

Some unfortunate information has been discovered by researchers on the dangers of mobile phone and tablet use. This time it is directed toward children, including those who are as young as two years old.

The CDC reports that one out of five American children between the ages of 3-17 has a behavioral or mental disorder.

San Diego State University researchers and those from the University of Georgia did not find those statistics to be surprising.

“Half of mental health problems develop by adolescence,” professors Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell said.

In 2016, scientists analyzed data from a nationwide health survey. The information was provided by parents of over 40,000 US children between the ages of 2-17.

Questions were asked about the medical care of the children, as well as developmental or emotional issues and how much time the children spent looking at a digital screen.

The researchers warned that only one hour of looking at the screen daily can make children more likely to experience depression or anxiety.

In addition, young children are more at risk because they have lower levels of self-control and are more easily curious or distracted.

A nonprofit organization, Common Sense Media helps educators, parents and children to deal with media and technology. In a report that they put out, it was shown that children under nine years old spend over two hours every day on screens.

When they reached the age of an adolescent, they spent over seven hours per day on screens.

A report was published in Preventative Medicine Reports Journal by Twenge and Campbell. They warned about the negative effects but say that all is not lost.

“How children and adolescents spend their leisure time is [easier] to change.”

There is still much that can be done to improve the mental health of the next generation.

Your children may appreciate being able to play on the phone or a tablet as a reward but it may not be something to consider for the long term.

Both teachers and parents should be aware of how much time children are spending online or watching TV.

These 3 tips can help to limit the screen time:

1. Establish ‘technology-free zones’

Your children should know that there are certain places in the house that are not meant for electronic devices. Many parents will make their children disconnect in the dining room, but banning screen time in the bedroom is another consideration.

2. Consider Technology a Privilege

Giving your children a reward is a time-honored and beneficial tradition. Just make sure that they don’t abuse it. Rather than always rewarding them with screen time, try rewarding them with other options so they know that screen time is a privilege.

3. Make Your Children Aware of the Dangers

You likely talk to your children about eating healthy and other healthy habits. Make sure you also discuss the health benefits of limiting screen time.

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