Handheld devices seem to be everywhere these days. Every Christmas it’s a mad rush to get the latest and greatest handheld video game, tablet, or even smartphone… and that’s for your child! While handheld games have been around for a couple of decades now, the other two are more recent phenomenons. And if you thought that having your ten year old constantly play video games was too much, imagine him texting on a phone or surfing the web on a tablet. Sounds a bit messy, right? We agree, even though parents are pressured by both the media and their children to load up on the devices.
Below we’ve organized our three favorite reasons to not allow children under 12 to use handheld devices.
1. Children Benefit More From Physical Activities At An Earlier Age
It’s not joke that handheld devices are a large reason children aren’t getting as much exercise as they used to. Cut out PE at schools as well, and you’re looking at a youngster without much impetus to go out and play. Unless you have a child who just really loves sports, you’ll be hard pressed to get them to put down a video game and go run around outside for a while. While it’s true that a child could use a handheld device outside to get fresh air and sunshine, it still doesn’t promote physical activity.
2. Internet Connections Bring Dangers
It’s a lot easier for you to monitor a child’s internet use if they’re on a desktop or laptop. It’s a lot harder if they’re using a smaller screen such as a tablet or smart phone. Even handheld games are connected to the internet these days. Young kids just don’t have the foresight and emotional capacity to deal with online predators and bullies. Take away the temptation to talk to strangers by confiscating handheld devices until your child is old enough to be trusted to make good decisions online.
3. Screens Are Bad For young Eyes
There’s a reason we ask our kids to sit back away from the TV, and yet we don’t even think twice about them hovering near computer and tablet screens. They can still be bad for a child’s eyes, especially a child young enough to still have developing vision. As easy as it should be to tell your child to hold the device farther out from their face, part of the ease of such devices is that you can hold them close. It’s impossible to ask a child to not stare too close to a device’s screen because it would just be second nature to them.
We highly recommend that you either forbid your child from using handheld devices under the age of 12, or at least heavily restrict their use to emergencies only. Your kid only gets one childhood. Why would you let them have it front of a painful monitor full of strangers when they could be out enjoying the world?
Laura Greening is a mom and a part time wedding planner. She loves to write about wedding planning and preparation. She is currently working as a consultant Wallao, a flower girl dress store, based in Los Angeles, CA.