5 Reasons to Restrict iPhone/Android Use For Your Child

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Technology is here to stay, and it’s important that our children are familiar and comfortable using it. With that being said, we need to be aware of the potential negative effects that come with over usage. The American Academy of Paediatrics and the Canadian Society of Paediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to 1 hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day. Here’s why:

1. Rapid Brain Growth

Did you know that an infant’s brain will triple in size from the age of 0-2, and continues to develop rapidly until age 21? This early brain development is determined by environmental stimuli, or lack thereof. Stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to technology (Tvs, tablets, phones, internet, etc.) has been associated with attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity, and decreased ability to self-regulate. (Small 2008, Pagini 2010)

2. Epidemic Obesity

Prolonged TV and video game use correlates with increased obesity. 1 in 4 Canadian children and 1 in 3 American children are obese. 30% of obese children will develop diabetes, and obese individuals are at higher risk for early stroke, heart attack, and shortened life expectancy. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010)

3. Sleep Deprivation

60% of parents do not supervise their child’s technology usage, and 75% of children are allowed technology in their bedrooms. 75% of children aged 9-10 are sleep deprived to the extent that their grades are detrimentally impacted. (Boston College 2012)

4. Agression

Violent media content can cause child aggression. Young children are becoming increasingly exposed to physical and sexual violence in today’s media. The correction between media violence and child aggression is becoming so strong that the U.S. has categorized media violence and a Public Health Risk. (Huesmann 2007)

5. Mental Illness

Technology overuse is implicated as a causal factor in rising rates of child mental impairments, emotional disorders, and problematic childhood behaviour. 1 in 6 Canadian children have a diagnosed mental illness, many of whom are on a dangerous psychotropic medication. (Waddell 2007)

We aren't saying that we should remove all wifi and iPhones from our kid's lives completely. Obviously our children will need to develop the skills to use and understand technology as they grow into their teens and adult years. Hopefully this list will help us as parents to understand that more isn't always better, and that we must monitor and restrict our child's usage for the sake of their own health.