I remember that in my childhood days, I used to often make excuses to my mother so that she would let me go out to play with my friends and siblings.
But today, the scenario has completely changed. Whenever I see children standing anywhere, whether they are outside their homes or in any corner of a park, most of them are on their mobile phones, playing online games or surfing the internet. I feel pity not only for them but also for their childhood which is getting harmed by the internet.
Nowadays, children are more interested in playing online games than playing in a playground or the street outside their house. The reason behind this changed scenario is that the world is now at their fingertips. They can get anything, especially entertainment, anytime and anywhere.
A mountain of information is available to them on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and games like PUBG and apps like TIKTOK are replacing playgrounds and all physical activities. From minutes to hours, the majority of their time is spent on screens. They don't even realize that a large amount of time in their daily routine is wasted on mobile phones.
Playground vs Online Games/Electronic Gadgets
In comparison to older times, you will find that playing outside games was beneficial for a child s physical as well as mental development. Games like building blocks, play dough, figurines, and other activities provided them the opportunity to use their imagination at best. Tech toys cannot do the same.
It is a well-known fact that children who spend a lot of time on a screen will spend less time interacting with others. A recent study revealed the astonishing fact that most adults spend 25 to 30 hours per week on mobile phones. That s a lot, phew!
Some Harmful Effects of Excessive Mobile Phone Use by Children:
Children's creative thinking and imagination are hindered
The brain does work fast and remains active while playing online games, but this cannot be compared to playing games in the playground. Coordination skills and imagination are improved more by playing field games than online games.
The chances of distraction and short attention span increases
While playing online games, a child's brain knows that it can also surf other things on the Internet and becomes more likely to lose focus and attention. However, while playing in the field, their focus is only on what they are playing. Hence, we can say that habit of playing online games automatically reduces the child's ability to focus and concentrate.
They start lacking in social skills
Nowadays, whenever family relatives visit our house, children at home who excessively use mobile phones or play online games, avoid their company and go back to their mobile phones. They have also stopped spending time at their relative or friend's house and as they find their mobile phones more interesting and a better means of enjoyment.
They become more passive or aggressive
Children get addicted to playing online games. When their parents interrupt them in the middle of their game or try to cut their screen time, they become either passive or aggressive.
Lack of physical activity leads to obesity
Some may laugh, but it's a matter of great concern. The kind of lifestyle we are living where junk food is becoming a child's first choice of a meal is highly unhealthy. With no activity in the actual playground, the chances of getting obese are more than ever. Sitting with a mobile all day on the sofa or any other corner of their house makes children obese and dull.
It has become a matter of pride for parents to meet their children's demands of having updated gadgets. People nowadays bring full equipment of PUBG games even for their 3-year-old child. They are not aware that they are creating a negative basis that hinders the overall development of their child. If they keep making videos on Tiktok and encourage their child to follow, it leads to Internet addiction sooner or later.
Some quick tips to restrict your kids from playing online games
Spend quality time with them
Take time out of your busy lives to spend time with your kids at home as well as in a park. One reason as to why children tend to gravitate towards online games is that they watch their parents surfing the internet on their mobiles or laptops. If a father asks his child to play ludo or carrom, I don't think any child will refuse. If parents ask their children to join them in the playground, they will be the happiest children on earth. If your child is now an adult, you can still go to the park with them to play football, cricket, badminton or any other sport. However, it is important to get used to these activities at the beginning of parenthood. Otherwise, it can be difficult for your kid as well as for you to adapt to them.
Give them toys to play with instead of a mobile
If you give your child a real toy, they will be very happy. Unless they find something more interesting on a mobile, they will not ask for it. Most of the time online games and electronic gadgets appear more attractive and become addictive for your child because they see you enjoying them.
Enroll them in a sport or physical activity
Nowadays, you can enroll your child in any activity by spending the same amount that you might spend to buy them a tablet, expensive mobile phones, or online game kits. Who knows? Your child might excel in a particular sport in the near future! As they say 'to win the lottery, you have to buy a lottery ticket first.’
To conclude this article, I would like parents to understand that if they are giving their child an electronic gadget like a mobile phone for playing games at a very young age, they are ruining the child's possibility to live a healthy life.