Electronic devices have revolutionised our lives, in turn, making us totally dependent on these devices.
Technology is an integral part of our day-to-day lives. In the present civilization, people all over the world rely heavily on it for communication, entertainment, health monitoring, transportation, organisation, employment and more. Looking around, we find people busy around the clock with the use of electronic devices in general and smartphones in particular. It seems that life has reduced to a phone screen.
Electronic devices have revolutionised our lives, in turn, making us totally dependent on these devices. We often see young mothers using apps on their smartphones while feeding their babies, or people looking for charging points at places like airports and railway stations, so they can always stay connected. Electronic gadgets like microwave ovens, TVs, personal digital assistants, cellphones, computers, air-conditioners, cameras, electronic controls in vehicles and so on have become an integral part of our lives. It would not be an exaggeration to say that electronics is governing almost all essential and non-essential segments of our lives.
Controlled use of electronic devices
It is important to know that excessive use of electronic gadgets adversely affects our health. Electronic devices have made us lethargic and forget our own special attributes and talents by making us rely on technology for pretty much everything.
We have moved away from activities like sports, social engagements, reading books and newspapers, among others. The ill effects of social media are also not hidden from anyone.
As per a guideline by American Association of Pediatricians, children between the ages of two and five should not be permitted screen time of more than one hour per day.
Excessive exposure to electronic devices is paving the way for many behavioural and psychological disorders. Children are so engrossed in the world of gadgets that the amount of physical activity that they experience is compromised. This, in turn, hinders their motor skills development.
Since children hardly move around, their face-to-face social interactions are also limited, which ends up in the children being socially shy. They do not have many friends of their age and cannot express their emotions. Rate of depression in children is also on the rise.
According to specialists, complaints from parents that their children are not sleeping properly, or are throwing tantrums when laid to bed, are also the result of over-exposure to screen time during the day.
Side effects of excessive use of electronic gadgets are briefed below.
Over-excitation of brain. Cellphones with backlight put a lot of stress on the brain, especially children’s. Continuous usage of gadgets creates memory problems in the long run.
Affected educational performance. Graphics on the gadgets change so rapidly that these fully engage the brain. Children gradually get used to such high levels of stimulation and start expecting the same from all media. As a result, books fail to provide the same level of stimulation, eventually resulting in poor academic performance.
Restlessness and hyperactivity. Excessive screen time and exposure to graphics affect proper functioning of the brain. Fast-moving graphics of the gadgets make children restless and agitated. This also brings about behavioural changes in children and makes them hyperactive and fidgety.
Content monitoring. Often the content that children get exposed to is overtly mature for their age. Parents constantly need to act as content mentors to prevent children from coming across inappropriate content and, in turn, becoming aggressive. If children watch adverse content, they are likely to undergo prominent changes in their social behaviour.
It is high time that parents start spending some quality time with their children so that they can slowly make a shift from the world of electronic gadgets to the real human world. This will ensure that their world expands to a larger space and their behavioural development happens as it ideally should.
Dr S.S. Verma is a professor at Department of Physics, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur, Punjab