5 Reasons to Stop Using Gadgets When Babysitting

Most parents have probably done it: hand the iPad to the kids while waiting for the food in a restaurant, put on a cartoon during a long drive or let them play video games while you’re doing the chores. You can say that your child is happy and even learning how to count and read, and that they should learn to adapt to technology.

However, screen addiction can be detrimental to your child’s mental, physical and socio-emotional development. Here are more reasons why you should stop using gadgets while babysitting and avoid your kids from too much exposure from such technology.

1. It affects the child’s overall brain development
During a child’s first few years, over a million of neural connections are growing every second. Children who spend so much time on gadgets lack the opportunity to play and socialize with other children, which is crucial in the development of your kid’s social skills. Youngs kids who prefer screen time instead of playing their toys and their friends are deprived of the chance to exercise their communication and problem-solving skills.

2. It affects healthy sleep pattern
According to experts, watching TV within two hours before bedtime can make it harder for toddlers to fall asleep. Even just the mere presence of mobile device in the room during bedtime already increases the risk of poor sleep quality and inadequate sleep. And don’t forget the notorious ‘blue light’ from your device’s screens, which can suppress melatonin—the hormone that signals your brain to relax and rest.

3. It puts mental and psychological health at stake
More and more studies today have shown mental and psychological effect of technological overuse. Linking digital overuse to anxiety, aggression, autism, ADHD and depression. Addiction to video games is also linked to lower life satisfaction and higher levels of depression and anxiety.

4. It can also affect your kid’s performance in school
Many preschool teachers in Singapore have reported an increased cases of short attention spans, less interest in play time and delayed speech among children who they found out are excessive gadget users. Why is this so? Playing with a gadget, instead of interacting with a real person, children do not have the chance to express themselves and have a hard time paying attention when they are spoken to.

5. It halts healthy development of motor skills
Use of iPads and other mobile gadgets may get your children sit still, but it is not the ideal way of training them to practice focus. Instead, it only prevents your kids from engaging movements and being active. Remember, how the body executes movements and how the brain works to organize series of activities that the body will perform is directly related. This is what you want to develop in your growing child.

Technology is not pure evil. They also provide entertainment and education value. However, it is up to the parents to control and teach their children how to use gadget properly and responsibly.