It is not difficult to extol the virtues of technology today, particularly the role it plays in the education of our children. In a world where an increasing number of adult professions rely more and more heavily on technology, it makes sense that parents would want their children to grow up feeling comfortable with their computers, cell phones, and tablets. However, there are some risks to exposing children to too much technology in their formative years.
The following is a look at some of the negative effects that technology can have on children when they are overexposed to it at too young an age:
#1 It Can Delay Children’s Cognitive Development
A child’s brain will grow more during the first three years of their life than any other point in their lives. During that time, a child needs to develop visual skills, spatial skills, and motor skills to grow into functioning children and, later, adults. Excess screen time prevents children from developing these skills fully, which is why it’s important for them to have some toys and a fair amount of imaginative play, too.
#2 It Can Negatively Impact Social Skills
When children only interact with technology and not other children or adults, they are not building the empathy and collaborative skills they will need throughout the rest of their lives. A lot of technology use is highly personal, and social skills are developed in young children through interaction.
#3 It Can Cause Eye Strain
An increasing number of people worldwide need glasses, in part because of the strain put on their eyes through technology use, which emits radioactive rays that can be harmful to people’s eyes. Children’s eyes are especially vulnerable because they’re still developing, and eye strain can lead to bigger problems like chronic headaches and focus issues.
#4 It Can Impact Sleep
Studies have found that overuse of mobile devices has a direct correlation with the quality of sleep a child may have, and a lack of sleep can have serious consequences on the development of a child’s brain.
#5 It Can Increase Risk of Cancer
Perhaps scariest of all, too much technology use can increase the risk of cancer in all people, though it is especially risky in the case of children. For this reason, the American Cancer Society officially recommends that parents limit the amount of screen time children have access to. In fact, babies under 18 months should have no screen time at all, while older toddlers up to the age of five should have no more than one hour per day.
Why You Should Consider Traditional Toys
So what’s the solution? Here at Hollow Woodworks, we sell the types of children’s toys that encourage them to spend their playtime using their imagination without the screens. Whether it’s a wood puzzle or our wooden letter blocks, giving young children the opportunity to spend some time learning away from technology will help them in ways that screens simply can’t. Knowing this, we encourage parents to have their children make the most of physical toys and manipulatives as well as integrating technology slowly and responsibly into their everyday lives.