Ten years ago, we were concerned about violent video games and children watching too much TV. Today, children spend five to six hours a day staring at a screen, sometimes two at once (TV and iPad). Toddlers are given iPads as pacifiers and have become slaves to glowing screens.
Before iPads came out in 2010, experts warned that 80 percent of children started school with poor coordination due to sedentary lifestyle. There has been a four-fold increase in Ritalin prescriptions in the past decade. The boom in iPads and smartphones has led to deteriorated physical and mental health in all ages of children.
Ten percent of children under the age of four are put to bed with a tablet computer. A third of children under three have their own tablet. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs didn’t let his own children have iPads. It is harder to wean children off of screens if they are given them at a young age.
Children who use tablets are no longer learning how to live in the real world, to socialize or play with others. Real play is a biological necessity, as vital as food or sleep for healthy development. The neural pathways controlling social interaction and imagination must be developed in early childhood. An entire generation could grow up unable to create their own fun and enjoy real friendships due to too much screen time.
Real play develops problem-solving skills, perseverance, and resilience, driven by a desire to understand how the world works. It also provides the foundation for academic learning. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under two and less than two hours a day after that because it cuts activities needed to build healthy bodies and brains.
Parents cannot continue damaging their children with iPads, just because others are doing it. In order to grow up smart, balanced, and healthy, parents need to limit screen time, spend family time together, and encourage children to play outside. Technology will move on, but self-confidence, creative thinking, and social skills will last throughout a child’s life.
Palmer, Sue. “The iPad is a Far Bigger Threat to Our Children Than Anyone Realizes.” SomeDaily. Web. 29 Jun 2017.