“Can I advise you something?”. We are not saying that technology and gadgets are devil incarnate, that should be put away the lock and key, never to be seen or heard at all . Far from it. What we are saying is that as parents, as adults, we have to be mindful as to the children and how technology is used.
We have seen way too many scenarios or variations of this, as an example: It is 11.30 PM at a food truck space, hustle and bustle of activities going on. We see parents and their (must have been around) 7 months old, in a stroller taking their seat next to us. Dad immediately takes out his phone, propping it on the table, making sure that the child has the perfect view while watching videos. Mum proceeded getting food and drinks from various food trucks for them. They enjoyed eating the food, not talking to each other really, occasionally adjusting the phone when it was out of place from the baby to watch her video . The whole entire time we were seated at the table, that behavior continued.
Admittedly, we hurt ourselves biting our tongue the whole night. Looking back ,we regretted not saying anything to the parents. We were too caught up in the “these are adults, they must have better common sense”. We could have been more focused on the child than the parents. We might have been able to say something constructive, kind and loving to the parents and be heard.
For one, kids need to learn about boundaries and communication. How can kids understand routine and proper sleep for example when they are taken out as a baby at different hours of the night? They are being told on another day “oooh sleep now honey”. The child would be very confused! What are the guides they are supposed to be looking at?
The child had a completely attentive stare at the screen. If a child is constantly being babysat by electronics and not learning about how to express thoughts, their feelings to another human being.How then, can you expect to know and learn about your child, your tween, your teenager. Don’t then be angry and surprised if you have to deal with a very, very angry ,defiant child, teenager, shutting you away and not wanting to communicate at all.
Do not be too surprised with the rise of learning and developmental issues, diagnosis in children with over usage of electronics and gadgets in children.
Early exposure to screen can cause neurochemical and anatomical brain changes. It also has been found to reduce melatonin concentration.
Study in Internet-addicted urban left-behind children shows neurotransmitter deficiency like dopamine, acetylcholine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT).
This may lead to a spectrum of behavior disorders that may correlate with verbal and emotional competence, aggression, and cognitive abilities.
So this is our advice, technically no 7 months old baby should be out and about at midnight. Parents need to set up a sleep schedule. As difficult as it may be, routine is important for a growing baby. It also gives parents a time to breath knowing they have a set down time.
If you need to go out, ask for help for someone to take care of the baby.
If that is still difficult and you have them with you, be mindful when you have them around. Keep the electronics away. Learn to observe and talk to your baby. Point out things in the surrounding to them. There could easily be music in the background. Eye catching decorations murals to appreciate. Show them the food that you are eating. These are all ways to grow their verbal skills.
A phone screen is not able to interact in these ways. It keeps your baby in their own world without you in it. It’s time to change that.