Experts Warn That Technology Is Causing Mental And Emotional Problems In Children
When I was growing up, things were a lot different. Us kids played outside until the street lights came on. When we did play in the house, we were reading books, doing crafts, and playing other games. Nowadays, I look around and see kids as young as two on an iPad. And children who have no need for a cellphone have a more updated smartphone than I do. Experts are now warning that technology is affecting our children’s mental health in a number of negative ways, and this is something we need to address.
It’s not difficult to understand why parents are prone to handing their child an iPad or smartphone. “A lot of parents are too busy, and a lot of these kids come from single-parent homes, and it’s very hard for parents to be there as a parent while at the same time trying to work,” says Ursha White, child and adolescent team leader at Permian Basin Community Centers. “So I think a lot of it is they let technology raise their kids.”
In addition to our children’s focus and social skills being impacted by technology, it also puts them at risk of cyber bullying, social media obsession, and online predators. “Even our second-graders, they are more into social media, and they’re dealing with a lot more exposure to the real world —the bullying and the sexual predators— than our high schoolers were at that age,” continues White. “We are sending a lot more (younger kids) to the hospital because of the suicidal outcries from bullying — people don’t like them, or they really just want to get away from everything in life.”
“100% of the kids I see come in with some issues relating to social media,” says Heather Mason, MISD crisis counselor. “Every single one of the kids I meet struggle, in some way, with social media, whether it’s, ‘I wanna post this and people don’t like what I’m posting,’ or, ‘I’m following something that could be unhealthy to follow,’ or ‘I was on Facebook or SnapChat, and my friend was mean to me.'”
Technology has benefitted us in many positive ways. However, exposing children to technology at such a young age only promotes them becoming dependent on it, which nothing good can come out of. So when you get the urge to entertain or distract your child with an iPad, take a moment to sit and read or simply talk with them instead. If your children grow up without being consumed by technology, they’re less likely to experience the negative aspects of it as they get older.