Gifts you should never give to toddlers and kids below 12 years old

Smartphones may affect a child's development, experts say

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toddler gadget

Gadgets & electronic devices kids below 12 years old should not have

1. Smartphones
2. Computer or tablet
3. Video game console
4. Cable TV subscription
5. Electric-driven mini-bikes and cars

Why toddlers should immediately stop using them

With the booming generation of young techies, it’s not unlikely that the first word that proceeds from the mouths of babes is not “Mama” or “Papa” but “iPad.” We see them tinkering with a tablet, and we gush, “Wow, smart kid!” But pediatric experts say it’s not really a smart move. Important pre-academic skills such as self-regulation, empathy, social skills, and problem-solving are primarily learned through children exploring the natural environment, not with gadgets [1].

What science says

A World Health Organization report in 2011 says gadgets are a health risk due to radiation [4]. Children in the U.S. below the age of 8 spend an average of at least two hours a day of “screen time” in front of a mobile device [3]. Experts discovered that these gadgets can interfere with the development of a child.


child brain

1. Brain shrink

The American Academy of Pediatrics and Canadian Society of Pediatrics agree that children from 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology at all [6]. Adult coaching is needed to develop a child’s cognitive skills and gadgets are not a big help.

Between 0 and 2 years, an infant’s brain triples in size and continue in a state of rapid development up to 21 years of age (Christakis 2011). Early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli or lack thereof. Stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to electronic devices (cell phone, computer, iPad, TV) has been shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums (Small 2008, Pagini 2010).

The latest study by the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland found that one hour of mobile radiation triggered potentially harmful changes in human cells. The radiation made the cells in blood vessel walls shrink. Repeated exposure could make the blood-brain barrier more permeable, leading to increased brain damage.


psychomotor development

2. Bad for psychomotor skills

Knowledge assimilation should be balanced with physical skills such as movement, coordination, manipulation, dexterity, and speed – actions like climbing and jumping rope. The same is true for fine motor skills like handling precision tools or instruments. These skills will be underdeveloped. Giving them a motorized bike is really a bad idea.


literacy development

3. Literacy development

Technology use restricts movement, which can result in delayed development, negatively impacting literacy and academic achievement (HELP EDI Maps 2013). Movement enhances attention and learning ability (Ratey 2008). Use of technology under the age of 12 years is detrimental to child development and learning (Rowan 2010).

Most kids today do not go out to play. They are either glued to their gadget or stuck on cable TV. Worse, left unsupervised, they could be watching cartoons that are harmful to them.


mental sad boy

4. Mental Illness

Technology overuse is implicated as a causal factor in rising rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis and problematic child behavior (Bristol University 2010, Mentzoni 2011, Shin 2011, Liberatore 2011, Robinson 2008). One in six Canadian children has a diagnosed mental illness, many of whom are on dangerous psychotropic medication (Waddell 2007).


introvert

5. May turn them to introverts

Haven’t you noticed how friends and families, though physically together, are worlds apart, separated by smartphones and tablets? Fingers busy tapping. Eyes fixed on the gadget. No word exchange. Whatever happened to meaningful conversations to cultivate relationships? Not an ideal training ground for learning social skills for the younger ones.

Shut-up toys

Gadgets are “shut up” toys and virtual babysitters that help parents do more, but these gadgets are robbing children of how nature designed them to grow – to run, touch, and interact with others.


What parents should be worried about

gadgets tablet toddler
These types of gadgets are useful, but not beneficial to your child

Early blindness

There have also been reports of early and temporary blindness due to smartphones [4]. Since 2015, nearly twenty people reportedly died after long-term exposure to video games [5]. Flash blindness (intense exposure to light, such as flash) may have the same effect when you are frequently exposed to fast moving video games, emitting the ‘blue light’.

Some sources such as NATO and the U.S. Department of Defense stated that “flash blindness” can be temporary or permanent. It’s still debatable whether the light being emitted from these gadgets pose a threat. The first tablet appeared in 2010, we still have a few more years to find out its ramifications.

Allowing your kids to use their gadget for long hours may be preparing them for early blindness, would you risk it?

Blue light
Blue light is a type of “high energy” light that forms part of the visible light spectrum. Evidence shows intense blue light causes damage to the back of the eye — the retina — and Dr. Kokkinakis says exposure in children could possibly lead to early onset macular degeneration. Allowing your kids to use their gadget for long hours may be preparing them for early blindness, would you risk it?

Essilor study
Essilor, manufacturers of blue light blocking lenses, made a study that showed retina cells grown in a laboratory were completely destroyed when exposed to blue light. Exposure to artificial light, such as a ‘bright white LED,’ is one of the largest often-overlooked health risks of living in the 21st century according to Dr. Mercola.

Learn from Steve

Steve Jobs limited his young daughters’ exposure to technology. Every evening, he made a point of having dinner at the big, long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things.

There are things that gadgets cannot do that only parents can. Traditional hands-on, face-to-face parent-child engagement increases a child’s aptitude for learning. Don’t rob them of the simple joys and pleasures of childhood.

References:
[1] Jenny S. Radesky, Jayna Schumacher, Barry Zuckerman
[2] 2014 Canada Media Smarts Study
[3] 2013 Common Sense Media Report.
[4] New England Journal of Medicine
[5] 13 People Who Died Playing Videogames
[6] Childhood Cognitive Development and Media Use, Elizabeth Karow)

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Teens who have access to smartphones
75 %
Teens online every day
90 %
Teens addicted to gadgets
50 %
Parents who monitor their child's activity
70 %
Parents gives these types of gifts
60 %
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9 COMMENTS

  1. what to do? I think…….ahh hmm You might be tempted to write off aggression in toddlers as just a phase. While this might be the case, teaching them to manage their emotions is vital for helping them cope as they get older. After all, a teenager who slaps you when he’s angry isn’t quite as easy to move the past as when your toddler does it. The Healthy Children website suggests praise for desired behaviors and teaching him appropriate responses when he gets aggressive. Tell him to say, “I’m angry” rather than biting your hand. It’s also important to model the non-aggressive behaviors you want to see.

    • Aaron gaming I am 11 and I now realize I have been addicted since 7.This is very educational and if you do not see that, you will when you are older.

  2. The language barrier and opinions in all the comments below are proof how illiterate and naive people are becoming when their social relationship with others is replaced with a handheld device. The one that becomes an addict or habitual user cannot see the problem or identify the harmful patterns themselves when he or she develops a case of denial. For instance, parents never understand anything, is a classic case of self-denial within the youth population of today. Adults not only have mental experience but fiscal experience of past experience through life’s’ learning habits. Usually the rule of thumb is, the older the person is the wiser that individual will be from life’s learning experience. The proof is in the pudding when those comments below are classic evidence of denial which, is replaced with belligerent and aggressive attitudes because they think there is no harm in playing video games excessively. What a shame, maybe they’ll wake-up when they finally find themselves talking to a wall inside a jail cell one day or who knows maybe not. Is this our future????

  3. he mom is the cornerstone of the family, and need spend more time with children and cook healthy food for them from scratch. It is fake processed and fast “foods” that cause obesity. The worse offender is petroleum ( a by product of the gasoline and petroleum industries) which found in most margarine and processed”cheese. Only feed kids real food, if people actually knew what they were being fed they would vomit.

  4. No Gadget’s for that age is very helpful to know what your child’s strenght and hobbies. Please support this web. Keep it up !

  5. Parents should take care more of what they’re kids are doing. For me it’s not bad to use those gadgets it help your kid in more aspect in life but limit them for they’re safety. Godbless

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