Experts suggest that the maximum time for children to access gadgets is 1-2 hours per day. The following is the recommended duration for children to play gadgets based on their age:
Children under 2 years old are advised not to be given access to gadgets at all. If absolutely necessary, children over 1.5 years old can access gadgets accompanied by their parents and for no more than 1 hour per day.
Children aged 2-5 years are advised to access gadgets for only 1 hour per day, and even then, a quality program should be recommended.
Children aged 6 years and over may play with gadgets, but with a time that has been agreed with parents, for example only on weekends or a maximum of 2 hours per day.
What you need to understand is that the duration suggested above does not only apply to the use of gadgets such as mobile phones or tablets, but also includes time to watch TV or use a computer/laptop.
Why Should Gadgets Be Restricted?
According to studies, unrestricted use of gadgets can develop into gadget addiction. Some of the bad effects of gadget addiction on children are:
1. Impaired cognitive development
Especially at the age of 1-3 years when a child’s brain is very sensitive to the surrounding environment, everything that happens to a child in his early life will become a permanent foundation for the development of further brain function.
Research has found that children’s cognitive development will be delayed if they access electronic media for too long. This will affect the child’s ability to focus, build vocabulary, even to understand behavior, as well as the ability to communicate with others.
2. Can’t empathize
The ability to empathize is highly dependent on the development of a part of the brain that is formed by social interactions between humans. This cannot be obtained through games from gadgets.
Therefore, if your child plays with the tablet more often than with his friends, it is possible that he will have problems understanding the situation and the feelings of his friends.
3. Lazy to think
Gadgets are very rich in stimulus for children. What is touched on the screen can produce something for it, be it movement or a change in color. This is of course quite different from a story book where the pictures are the same and can’t move.
Although it seems more practical and interactive, this is actually not good for a child’s brain, because it risks making him lazy to imagine or think so that it will affect his ability to learn when he enters school.
4. Overweight due to lack of movement
Too much sitting and rarely moving because using gadgets for too long is at risk of triggering weight gain or obesity in children. Lack of physical activity can also weaken the immune system and make children sick easily, especially if the child stays up all night playing gadgets.
5. Behavioral disorders
Research shows that children who spend a lot of time playing with gadgets can have difficulty controlling emotions, not listening to their parents, and calming themselves down. In addition, the use of gadgets or media that is too high is also associated with the incidence of ADHD.
6. Certain limbs hurt
Too often playing gadgets, especially to play games, can also make children’s hands hurt. This is because when playing games, children press the same button repeatedly and often in a fixed position. Over time this can be a problem, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Not only in the hands, other health problems that can arise due to the frequent use of gadgets are neck pain, headaches, and dry eyes. This complaint can even occur continuously.
Tips for Limiting the Use of Gadgets in Children
The following are some tips that you can try to limit the use of gadgets in children at home:
Set the rules for the duration of playing gadgets according to the age classification as described above
Make rules regarding schedules that require you and your family to be free from gadgets, for example when having dinner together, before going to bed, or when traveling as a family
Select some applications that are useful for children, for example, applications to learn to read, count, or other useful things
Put all your gadgets in the common room so you can monitor what your kids are watching or playing
Take your time to do other activities with your child instead of playing with gadgets, such as drawing, playing a bicycle, or swimming
Do not give your child a gadget with the aim of calming him down when he is fussy. This can make it difficult for children to be calmed without a gadget