Young children are increasingly spending more time on media. Presently, children spend an estimated 7 hours a day on media such as T.V., computers, and smartphones.
Even though the media may be informative, it can lead to problems like distraction, sleeplessness, trauma and inappropriate behaviour.
Parents need to keep a close eye on how children are using the media to help them develop in healthy ways.
Children who have access to media such as the T.V. and smartphones may not spend quality time on important activities like play and reading.
Play is important in helping children develop essential skills like problem solving and sharing.
When children play while the T.V. is on, even in the background, they may not pay full attention to the play activities.
Children are also less likely to have quality interactions with parents while the T.V. is on.
- Sleep Problems
Access to a wide range of media is a likely contribution to poor sleep. Lack of enough quality sleep is associated with a negative impact on cognitive development, decision-making, behavior and physical health.
Health experts opine that quality sleep in children between the ages 1 to 5 years ought to be around 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
Irregular sleeping times and nightmares, due to watching T.V., negatively affect the quality of sleep.
- Psychological Trauma
Children who watch violent, scary shows on media such as DVD, T.V. or online can experience psychological trauma.
Children who watch frightening shows or movies are likely to experience bad dreams, fear, reduced school attendance and withdrawal from friends.
To shield children from the negative effects of violent or scary content, parents can monitor their use of media and restrict access to such content.
- Inappropriate Behavior
Children access a large amount of information from various forms of media, including the internet, print media and the T.V.
Unfortunately, some of this information may be inappropriate for their age. The relative ease of access to the internet means that some children view pornographic pictures or videos.
More worryingly, some of the children who have watched pornographic content may consider trying what they saw.