This is how smartphones affect child’s tactile growth and academics
The smartphone is not just smart, it’s also what psychologists call a ‘child behavioural catalyst’. It means children, especially aged 3-12, imbibe the characters they see on cartoon shows and often start behaving like them.
The smartphone is not just smart, it’s also what psychologists call a ‘child behavioural catalyst’. It means children, especially aged 3-12, imbibe the characters they see on cartoon shows and often start behaving like them. Not to forget the effect smartphones have on a child’s tactile growth and academics.
Five-year-old Javed from Ludhiana in Punjab has been exposed to a smartphone since he was three. “We found he was refusing to hold the pencil in his hand because he was used to a touchscreen. Every time we forced him to write, he would find excuses and run away,” father Akram says.
It’s not an isolated case. Doctors and psychologists are flooded with cases of children living delusional lives and increasingly displaying anti-social behaviour. Dr Sagar Mundada, a psychologist in Mumbai, says smartphones are making children lonely. “They prefer to spend time with the devices rather than friends and family.”
Dr Arjun Ahuja, an ophthalmologist, says increasingly more children make up his patient base. “They come with watery eyes, and we all know why.” Parents, who initiated this phone fixation in the first place, are now beginning to see their folly and remedy it by referring their wards to medical and psychological help. They are also trying to limit phone usage.
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Schools, on the other hand, are quite divided. While some swear by ‘technology’ to develop the child’s capabilities, others are advocating ‘limited phone time’.
Javed’s parents have taken one giant step. They have stopped using phones at home. “That is the least we can do to make our child grow at his pace,” says mother Shahnaz, “We want him to play outside and enjoy clean air, not sit at home.” Since the family set-up is that of a joint family, they can always a relative’s phone during emergencies. “We don’t miss having a phone anymore,” Shahnaz says.
This article was first published in DNA: Smartphones have won over gilli-danda