Rarely have technological advancements not been greeted with fear, criticism, and worries that the end is near. The printing press, the radio, the telegraph, and now the smartphone. It takes a special and dramatic kind of technology to integrate into our daily lives and the smartphone is that type of technology.
The majority of Americans have a smartphone in their pocket now and the number of young people with a smartphone is increasing. Every technology has a possible downside, and we’re just beginning to see the possible side effects of smartphone use in teens. The Scientific American recently published an article discussing expert opinions on smartphone use in teens and its effects.
Concerns about smartphone use in teens
The developing concern among experts is whether smartphone use in teens is warping adolescent brains in a negative way. Does it have effects on attention, language skills, motor control, or eyesight? The concerns are more focused on younger youth when the brain is developing the most. In a study from France, researchers found that 58 percent of kids younger than 2 years old had used a tablet or smartphone.
Since smartphones are so new, it’s difficult to identify the negatives and positives of smartphone use in teens and youth. According to a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, smartphones are highly unlikely to make your child “dumb,” but there are many potential risks we possibly don’t know about.
The majority of child development professionals agree that smartphone use in teens and youth probably isn’t going to offer your child a beneficial learning experience, it’ll just be entertaining. It’s been shown that unhealthy attachments can form to these types of technology in the form of something like an addiction, which makes it all the more dangerous. Moderation is everything.
A tablet isn’t a babysitter
Parents often turn to technology as a way to subside crying or tantrums and make their children happy–but this can be a slippery slope. Yes, it’s easy to do this, but it’s making it harder for youth to develop self-regulating tools and subtly promotes addiction behaviors. The best thing you can do as a parent is stop replacing real life experiences and bonding times with technology–it’s probably not healthy.