Today, we live in the age of media and technology – the age where media is more powerful and dominating like never before. We adults have become completely addicted to media and usage of gadgets. It is a well-known fact that young ones tend to follow us and learn from what we do. This has created a curiosity in young children and toddlers to explore the gadgets and media.
Nowadays, many parents take pride in saying that their child is able to use gadgets at a very young age, even before they can even read, something which we adults learnt at a much later age. The irony is parents feel proud in acknowledging that a 2 year old can use gadgets with ease. The parents don’t recognise the fact that it is a sign of the child getting addicted to gadgets and media. Parents in their anxiety to provide the best to their children are actually making them addicted to these gadgets. A child’s mind is like blank page. They watch and absorb unconsciously and are influenced by the things they see on the screen.
In today’s society television is a biggest pastime for children and youth. Television involves very little brainwork. Hence the children become lazy and hardly think. Studies have proved that violence watched by children in cartoon shows and other television programs is the cause for aggression and violent behaviour in children. Children become desensitized to all the violence shown. Too much exposure to violence in television shows damages a child by mind and spirit. Studies also show that the number of cases of attention deficit and autism in children has steadily increased in recent years, thanks to the environmental changes and the advancements in technology. These have also contributed to improper and immoral behaviour in children and also in losing their innocence at a very young age. Use of gadgets can cause attention deficit, learning problems, sleep problems, anxiety, hampers cognitive development and childhood depression.
An article published in The New York Times highlights that if children spend too much time with gadgets and less time with people, it hinders interaction and disrupts the normal communication skill development in children. In a family set-up, toddlers often fail to develop their communication since they surround themselves with inanimate objects. Watching television for long hours causes vision problems resulting in them needing to wear spectacles at a very young age. Television also creates stereotypes, for instance all commercials and TV shows it is repeatedly shown that thin girls are beautiful, as a result young girls as young as nine or ten years take to dieting to look slim. As technology advances day by day we adults spend less time with our children, thus children and youth are media darlings. Media has taken advantage of this situation to penetrate into the lives of the children and has been successful in influencing them. Commercials and movies target children to sell their products. Hence the commercials even in kids channels not only showcase kids products but also adult products like beauty products, upcoming movies, branded clothes and shoes etc. Obesity in kids has increased in recent years as a result of consuming more junk foods shown in commercials.
Commercials and movies target children to sell their products. Hence the commercials even in kids channels not only showcase kids products but also adult products like beauty products, upcoming movies, branded clothes and shoes etc.
To address all these issues and save our children from falling prey to the evil clutches of media & gadgets like- the online game “The Blue Whale” which has claimed the lives of many children and young adults across the globe, we adults need to steadily keep a watch on the whereabouts of our children, supervise the television programs they watch and keep them away from gadgets. Researchers say child can be allowed to watch TV but for a restricted time limit of 2hrs/ day maximum under the supervision of adults. Parents need to spend more quality time with children by playing games with them, having breakfast and dinner together, help the kids in socialising by taking them to meet friends and relatives, family outings, teaching them our culture and traditions etc... But watching television also has it benefits toddler watching cartoon shows helps them pick up the language and vocabulary much faster even before they are exposed to it in school. Elementary school children benefit from shows on discovery channel & Animal Planet as they visually witness the facts. Watching television programs on our mythological stories and epics would help them learn our culture and tradition better.
Our government also needs to acknowledge the need to protect the children from harmful effects of exposure to media by appointing organisations to provide “Child Safe Media” & fix norms for programs and information telecasted on television, print media & internet. The organisation so formed should also certify them before being telecasted. The government also needs to take necessary steps to support organisation and punish them on violating the set norms. Parents and teacher need to work very closely in liberation the children from them evil clutches of the media & gadgets and make them more responsible and compassionate citizens of future which would in turn contribute to a better & peaceful society in the future.
In summary, while technology does have positive side, the negatives on child development seems to overweighing the positives. As highlighted above, obesity, attention deficit, learning problems, vision problems, sleep problems, anxiety, hampers cognitive development and childhood depression etc. pose a serious concern and threat to this generation of childhood.
About the Author:
Mrs. Swapna Anil Kumar is a Senior Facilitator at Little Millennium Saligramam since 2013. She has been grooming kids of Lower Kinder Garden - A Stage where kids are introduced to various concepts of writing, cursive alphabet, and numbers, for the past 5 years. She is a very creative person and an expert in drawing and crafts. Her classrooms are the most creative & colourful place for the kids to learn and play. Every kid she has taught remembers her for the interactive & informative classroom sessions. She loves spending time with kids and teaches them concepts outside the syllabus in play-way method, because she believes that more the information given to the kids of age 3 to 6, the more their brain develops.
Ardent music follower, Voracious reader & Enjoys travelling with family & friends.