Impact of digital devices on children

Study shows impact of digital devices on children Credit: Pexels: Andrea Piacquadio

Much debate has been had on how exposure to digital devices affects children. Now a study suggests they can damage emotional growth.

The two-year study sought to understand the potential effects of using tablets and smartphones to calm children when upset. It was conducted with more than 300 parents and children between the ages of two and five.

Senior author Professor Caroline Fitzpatrick, a researcher at the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, said, “Children are fascinated by digital content, so this is an easy way to stop tantrums, and it is very effective in the short term.”

However, the researchers suspected this strategy could have potential long-term implications that parents should be aware of. She continued, “If people’s awareness about digital devices being inappropriate tools for curing tantrums increases, children’s mental health and well-being will profit.”

Are electronic devices good for children?

According to the findings, handing a mobile phone or tablet to a child when they throw a tantrum can harm their ability to manage their emotions.

The study revealed that the more regularly a parent used digital devices to calm a child, the worse their anger and frustration management skills a year later.

Dr Veronika Konok, the study’s first author and a researcher at Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary, said, “Tantrums cannot be cured by digital devices. Children need to learn how to manage their negative emotions for themselves.”

The findings of the study published in Frontiers in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also found that poorer anger management skills led to children being given digital devices more often, thus creating a vicious circle.

“It’s not surprising that parents more frequently apply digital emotion regulation if their child has emotion regulation problems, but our results highlight that this strategy can lead to the escalation of a pre-existing issue,” Dr Konok said.

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Written by

Donna Williams

Marketer, copywriter, storyteller and President of Samaritans in Spain. They say variety is the spice of life and I am definitely loving life!


    • CCW60

      29 June 2024 • 16:47

      I saw an interview someone did with Steve Jobs before he died. The lady interviewing him suggested his children must be so excited to have access to all the amazing Apple devices before they ever hit the market. He told the lady his children were not permitted to have or use them. She asked why not. His response was astounding. He said he felt they stunted children’s mental and emotional growth AND inhibited their natural creativity. This study seems to confirm what he said during the interview.

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