Children, like adults, have a tendency to spend an excessive amount of time on their phones or gadgets. Who are we to blame? After all, they see us doing this all the time.
However, ‘a little too much' can quickly become ‘far too much', and the habit can quickly turn into an addiction.
Sadia Hossain, a senior officer at Shahjalal Islamic Bank and a mother of a five-year-old daughter Anaya Hossain, spoke about her child’s addiction to digital devices.
“My daughter spends three hours a day on mobile, laptop or iPad and gets very upset if we try to limit the usage."
She is also apprehensive about the explicit contents her five-year-old may get exposed to.
“I report some pages and contents on the internet when I monitor my daughter’s device, however, it’s very difficult to maintain all the time as a working mother.”
Iftekhar Kabir, Service Manager Operations of Apsis Solutions Ltd and a father of a 7-year-old daughter Pihu, sees it from a different perspective. He thinks nuclear families and the fast lifestyle of today’s parents are reasons behind the increase in digital device usage.
“I am very happy about my daughter’s knowledge about technology and devices,” says Iftekhar, “However, I take my daughter out on weekends and try to spend time with her as much as I can to control the usage of digital devices”.
Today's children have never known a world without smartphones or the internet. They're growing up in a world where entertainment and information are always at their fingertips. It's no wonder that kids spend a significant amount of time each day using technology.
Children's use of the internet, social media and online gaming have all become important parts of their life, especially during the pandemic when they had to shift to online classes.
Anjuman Akhi, residing in Mirpur, Kazipara, has two children- an eight-year-old daughter Nidhi and a five-year-old son Arian. She noticed that her children tend to finish academic and other activities faster to take smartphone or laptop on hand
“My kids enjoy watching TV and drawing; so I mostly try to keep them busy in other activities rather than using digital devices.”
There was a time when children used to complete homework and other academic tasks faster to get rid of mothers’ tuition early and join neighbouring children in the yard.
Those days are well behind and children now anticipate having the smartphone to play new games every day after finishing things. But one can develop his/her child in an addiction-free manner if one wants to.
Shaila Farzana, housewife and mother of five-year-old son Arham, said, “I try not to use mobile or any other electronic devices in front of my child and so my son did not develop the habit of using digital devices.”
This mother from Uttara has been successful in checking her son’s attraction for digital devices. Not only that, she has successfully developed good habits in her son.
“I have a habit of reading books and that is why I used to read a lot to my son. He soon learned to love it too. However, these days he enjoys watching YouTube on TV as well.”
According to Kaspersky, some 46.16 per cent of South Asian children (India, Bangladesh) are most likely to watch videos and listen to music.
Africa came in second with 44.75 per cent, followed by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with 43.83 per cent. North America with 36.20 per cent and Europe with (35.94 per cent had the lowest proportion in the category.
The statistics are collected by the contents of a web page that the child is trying to view, then are scanned by Kaspersky Safe Kids. The module sends an alert to Kaspersky Security Network if the site falls into one of fourteen undesirable categories.
Sadia Mahjabeen, founder of iAmMotherly, earned her Foundation of Positive Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania, is also a Certified Parent Coach from The Jai Institute of Parenting, USA.
She feels the negativities are always acute compared to positives in the children's addiction to digital devices.
“The negativity outweighs the positives of using technology, it leaves long term effects which cannot be seen. For example, children face speech problems in their early years due to the visual stimuli they are exposed to on the screens. Also, the motor skills of children are being hampered due to long term usage of gadgets.”
“The solution depends on the parents, how they would replace the screen times with fun activities or other alternatives”.
Many parents believe that media sources can benefit their children in a variety of ways, including boosting learning and creativity, as well as assisting with their ability to focus.
The goal, as always, is to find a balance between utilising the opportunities given by media while also ensuring that children have a fair level of control over how much time they can spend on digital devices and the types of content they are exposed to.