Everyone has a smartphone nowadays – even our youngest family members never leave the house without their precious devices! As parents, we want to keep our children safe at all times, and their phones can, unfortunately, pose a great risk to their safety and well-being, especially when they’re connected to the internet.
Now, we’re not one of those people who claim that children shouldn’t have their own smartphones – there are many great things your child would be missing without one! However, this is only possible with some degree of adult supervision and care.
In this article, we’ll discuss the negative effects of excessive smartphone use in children, so keep on reading to learn more about the topic in question.
Phones Can Disrupt Their Sleep Cycle
Even adults are advised to stay away from their phones at least an hour before they go to bed – the screen’s unnatural light can make falling asleep extremely difficult. Moreover, it could negatively affect the quality of sleep you’re getting, especially in the long run. As children generally require more sleep than an average adult, this is a huge no-no for them.
If your child seems to be overly tired and sleepy in the mornings, their smartphone could be one of the reasons why. Make sure your kids aren’t using their phones right before they’ve fallen asleep, and limit their screentime in the evenings. Try thinking of an exciting nighttime routine that will keep their hands away from their phone, and don’t hesitate to take it away if things get a bit too excessive.
Staring at a small screen all day can be extremely exhausting for your eyes. You wouldn’t want your child to develop issues with their eyesight, especially at a young age.
Even though your kids probably won’t feel the effects right away, the longer you let them go on with the excessive use of their phone, the worse it will be for them later in the future.
Make sure your child understands why they need to have their „phone time“ limited. They might not feel thrilled about it, but it’s for their own good, especially when the long-term effects are considered.
The Dangers of the Internet
If your kid is of the age when they’re already exploring social media and the internet, you need to have their phone supervised at all times. As cliche as it may sound, you never know what dangers are lurking out there. Your child shouldn’t come in contact with content that’s inappropriate for their age (something that the internet is simply full of), and they shouldn’t be sharing their personal data with strangers. It’s dangerous and irresponsible, but your young teen probably doesn’t know any better.
If they’re constantly on their phone, there’s no way for you to confirm what your child is actually doing on there. We advise you to limit their screen time as much as possible, especially when they’re not with you. To be extra safe, consider installing parental control software and phone tracking apps to limit the content they’re exposed to. You can visit here to find more information about those if you’re interested.
Either way, your young teen shouldn’t be online without your supervision and control. You don’t want them to come in contact with something that could affect their mental health and well-being in a majorly negative way.
Smartphones Are a Distraction
While academic success isn’t everything, it’s still something that will affect your child’s future in many different ways. We all know that smartphones can act as a distraction from schoolwork, especially in young children who still lack self-discipline.
If your child has been spending too much time on their phone (and too little doing their homework), it’s time for you to act. You don’t want them to become „addicted“ to their phone’s screen (as many are), especially if that affects how well they do academically.
Bad grades aren’t just bad for their future, they can also ruin their confidence and the love they have for learning. It’s something you need to prevent from happening at all costs, even if it means taking their screen time privileges away for good.
More Screen Time Means Less Physical Activity
Children need to stay physically active as much as adults do. Not getting enough fresh air and sitting around all day can be devastating to your child’s health. It can lead to weight problems, headaches, and even mental health issues later on.
Encourage your kids to partake in outdoor activities as much as they can. It will affect their health in a rather positive manner, which is what every parent wants the most for their child.
If your child is already using their phone all day long, they probably won’t be very happy once you decide to limit their screen time. However, as we’ve mentioned before, it’s for their own good – they’ll be grateful to you one day.
As we’ve briefly talked about before, excessive use of smartphones, especially social media, can have horrifying consequences on your child’s mental health. They might encounter cyberbullies, violent content, hate speech, and so much more at that.
Monitoring the content they’re watching is imperative – and so is limiting the time they spend online. You can’t exactly prevent your child from using the internet nowadays (we’re talking about teenagers), but you may as well decide what they’re exposed to and how much of their day is spent online.
Either way, social media can be horrible for your children’s mental health. Don’t let them use it before they’ve reached the appropriate age, and make sure it’s heavily monitored before they turn at least 16.
The Bottom Line
All in all, excessive use of smartphones in children can have a wide range of side effects that are always better avoided. Here, we’ve talked about the most common ones in detail to help you learn how to keep your child safe and protected.
We hope you found our article to be useful, and we wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavors.