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Research done by Childwise in 2015 showed that kids aged five to sixteen spend an average of 6.5 hours using technology screens each day (Habyts, “5 Shocking Facts About Screen Time and Kids Health”). Children are using technology constantly which is negatively affecting their health. Young people who should be perfectly healthy are giving themselves problems with their eyesight, weight, and, and sleep. What they are using technology for is even more alarming. Video games and social media are consuming kids lives and they can brainwash children by introducing them to violence and inappropriate images.
Addictions to these smart devices form very easily and kids end up spending hours upon hours on devices. The amount of time kids waste on playing mindless games and scrolling through Instagram is truly frightening.
Children’s technology usage should be limited in order to protect them from health problems, inappropriate content, and destructive habits. First off, the excessive amount of time that children spend using technology can lead to health problems.
These problems could be anything from unhealthy weight gain to straining the eyes to even mental health issues. Some argue that kids who do not use technology are more at risk for depression because they will not be accepted by their peers (Dotinga, “Are Smartphones Helping or Harming Kids’ Mental Health?”). This is far from the truth because of the numerous other problems that are linked to technology and are also associated with depression and anxiety. For example, research has proven that teenagers who watch more than 5 hours of TV daily are 5 times more likely to be overweight than teens who watch 0 to 2 hours (“Why to Limit Your Child’s Media Use”).
On top of the risk of excessive weight gain, kids who sleep with their devices in their room and those who spend more time with social media are at a greater risk for sleep problems. The blue light of screens delays and disrupts sleep and also has a negative effect on kids’ performance in school (“Why to Limit Your Child’s Media Use”).
Another huge concern is the effect that the use of technology has on eyesight and hearing. Researchers are looking into this “blue light” and have concerns that with continued exposure, the retina, the thin layer at the back of the eye and light-sensitive cells, could be damaged (Calderone, “Is Technology Harming Kids’ Eyes and Ears?”). A ton of kids who used to have near perfect vision end up needing to get glasses due to technology use. Finally, researchers have seen changes due to screen use in children’s brains. This is concerning because the study done by the National Institutes of Health showed that the brains’ of ten-year-olds who classified as heavy screen (seven-plus hours a day of use) users showed thinning in the brain’s cortex. Although researchers are unsure of what this could mean for the children, they know that the thinning of the cortex normally occurs later in adolescence (The Times, “Mum, Dad, Get off Your Phone! Take Charge of Your Screen Time”). Overall, there is much to be concerned with regarding how technology and screen use affect young people’s health.
Looking further into children’s technology use, there is tons of inappropriate content and unsafe people on the internet that kids are exposed to. Some people claim that the parent’s should be responsible for controlling what their kids use devices for. Although parents should be aware of what their children are doing online. Kids are spending several hours a day using devices, making monitoring their every click nearly impossible. Kids can easily find themselves on inappropriate sites, images, or videos, and sometimes not even intentionally (Del, “Technology: The Dark Side of Using Technology”). The even scarier issue is that social media is set up perfectly for sex offenders to target and exploit children, even on games that may appear safe. Recently Anthony Thomas, a forty-one-year-old man, was accused of using the popular video game Fortnite to meet and victimize twenty minors. With multiplayer apps like this, coming in contact with and taking advantage of kids is easy for men like Anthony to do anonymously. On top of this, research has shown that exposure to alcohol, tobacco use, and sexual behaviors through social media can cause kids to get involved with such things at an earlier age.
The inappropriate content on the internet is endless and easily available to kids, putting their innocence and safety at risk. Finally, technology use creates destructive habits for kids and is very much an addiction. Spending several hours a day sitting, hunched over, looking at a screen is not what humans were made to do. The majority of us know that this is not healthy, but kids are easily addicted and simply can not stop picking up their ipads and phones constantly. Research has come out saying that American teenagers averagely spend 9 hours each day using media and that is not including school or homework. An Oxford University study done in 2017 by Professor Andy Przybylski founded that four hours a day using screens and technology was the right amount for 15 years old (Del, “Technology: The Dark Side of Using Technology”). Most teens are spending way more than this recommended amount and people are left wondering why. Is there any good reason people need to spend all that time using phones and social media? There really should not be and with websites like Instagram and Netflix, kids are wasting their lives away mindlessly watching things on their phones. A study came out where almost 60 percent of parents admitted that their teens were addicted to technology and the majority of teens agree with their parents (Del, “Technology: The Dark Side of Using Technology”).
Kids know that they are addicted and no one knows how to stop it, not even the kids themselves. In conclusion, children’s technology usage should be limited in order to protect them from health problems, inappropriate content, and destructive habits. The health problems caused by technology use are endless. When kids are constantly complaining about back pain, headaches, and fatigue the answer to fixing these problems should seem easy. Spend less time on technology. On top of that, there is so much out on the internet that could emotionally harm children. Finally, technology addiction is a very real issue and kids can not control themselves. The amount of time kids spend on devices needs to be limited. What happened to playing outside and getting exercise? Kids a forming terrible habits that are becoming impossible to break. The majority of people claim themselves that they could not live without their phones. These objects that are held in people’s hands almost constantly are way more harmful than most people think of.
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