The Scoop on Smartphone Usage with Kids

People of all ages are affected by mobile or screen devices, even children. As a parent, you may feel tempted to let your child play with your phone or tablet as long as they stay quiet and keep out of trouble, but like most things it is important that you remember to do so in moderation.
Using mobile devices is not tremendously harmful; certain apps can have a huge educational impact on children boosting their skills in areas they may not otherwise be interested in.  The problem is the amount of screen time your kids are being exposed to on a regular basis.  They younger they are as their brains are developing the more adverse the effects may be.
According to Psych Central more than 1.8 billion people own smartphones and according to recent studies, people check their screens more than 150 times a day on average. These statistics have affected children, too, and data from Britain shows almost 70% of 11 to 12-year-olds use a mobile phone and that this usage grows close to 90 percent by the age of 14. Parents of infants and children under the age of 2 should avoid exposing them to smartphones, tablets, computers, televisions and anything else that serves to entertain people through a screen according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
With this in mind, you may begin to wonder how this affects children, especially since they are still growing and developing.
It may inhibit their social skills development
The American Psychological Association has not confirmed (due to inconsistent studies) whether screen time negatively affects children’s social skills but it can play a role.  Time spent on a mobile device means less ti

me interacting face to face with others. There are pros and cons to every situation but the goal is to moderate screen time for children.

It may contribute to shortened attention spans
The percent of children that are thought to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has increased to 11% from 5% before 1990 according to the CDC in a New York Times article. It’s said that this increase is likely to do with sociological changes, including how kids use the Internet and mobile devices.
It can cause aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, hands, back and other parts
The fact is that using smartphones forces people to tilt their heads down while moving wrists and fingers in unnatural ways.  Doing this for long periods of time can cause pain and prolonged joint damage especially in the neck and spine.
Contributes to inactivity and obesity
Lets face it kids these days rather be on their smartphones or tablets than going outside and playing. This requires long periods of time sitting down and kids have the natural urge to jump, hop, skip, climb and be active. This physical activity helps develop a strong and healthy heart, bones, lungs and muscles.  Our suggestion is to enroll them in sports or make sure that they do some form of physical activity every day for at least an hour. You can join them too to make it fun!
Can lead to eye discomfort and unhealthy sleep habits
Staring at a screen for a long period of time can cause digital eyestrain, which can come in the forms of blurred vision, fatigue, headaches and dry eyes. Reduce the amount of screen time and help them properly position their devices to at least arms length.  Trying to reduce the amount of screen time especially before bedtime can help, especially if they are experiencing irregular sleep patterns.  Cut off their time at least an hour to two before bedtime, instead, read a book to them or have them read a book to you.

As important as it is to remember to instill healthy habits in children, it is also vital to remember that children learn a lot by example.

Ways to Help Your Kids Overcome Their Tech Dependency

There is no denying that technology has taken over our lives. There is hardly a way to avoid it these days whether you are paying bills, doing research or simply trying to stay in touch with others. In many ways technology has been a blessing. It has helped us communicate more easily and more effectively than ever before, and it can save a lot of time and energy. But with just how prevalent technology is, it can be difficult to look away from the screen, even when it comes to relaxing and entertainment. This is true for both adults and children, but since children are growing up into this world it can be easy for them to miss out on the outside world – especially if all they know is technology.

As a parent, it may be easy to give your child a mobile device of some sort, whether it be a phone or a tablet, or sit them down in front of the TV all queued up with their favorite Netflix shows. While this can come in handy once a while, and making sure that your kids are watching and playing positive and educational shows and games, it is still important that you make sure that your children are not too dependent on technology.

For kids growing up in a world where technology is everywhere, this may seem like an impossible task, but here are some things you can incorporate into your child’s daily routine in order to make sure that they don’t get too attached:

  • Schedule some tech-free time. Set aside mobile devices, TV’s and other electronics for an hour, during certain activities such as mealtimes, or even entire portions of the day. Making technology-free time can make a huge difference. If kids know that they aren’t supposed to be using specific devices during a certain time of day, they can begin to interact with the world and the people around them more naturally without feeling like they are being forced to do so. Kids are very receptive to routines, so making it a part of your day will make it come naturally to children and it will be easier to draw them away from mobile devices while encouraging play time, family time, or any other activity.
  • Lead by example. Kids do a lot of learning by watching, listening and mimicking, so it is important that parents learn not to use technology too much as well. When enacting tech-free portions of the day or other tech-free activities, make sure to take part yourself! As studies show, when parents read so do their children, so picking up some good habits of your own can prove to be beneficial for both you and your children.
  • For older kids, social media may be a huge part of their lives, so banning the use of technology entirely by taking away phones and computers can actually be a bit detrimental. What you can do, however, is limit social media usage to certain times of day or to places such as only while at home. This way, your children can be social and chat with friends without being on their mobile devices all day long, no matter where they happen to be. The same goes for younger children who may use these devices for games and apps instead of social media. Limit game time to car rides or other periods of time, but make sure that kids participate in other activities as well, such as reading, physical exercise and good old family time.
Most importantly get your kids to pick up a book and read. YES! A physical book!  With reading done on tablets picking up a good old fashioned book gets them away from technology.  If your kids are reluctant to pick up a book try something new… like a personalized book! Personalized books makes kids the star of their own stories so they will be intrigued to read about themselves. 

Raising Kids in the Digital Age

Parenting in the Digital Age

It is an undeniable fact that we live in a digital age. As parents, remembering a time when things were simpler, but modern children will not have such memories. Sure, some pieces of technology will look and perform differently now than they will when they are older, but this generation and new-coming generations of children will not remember a time before the internet or a time where basic cable was all you had.

It can be hard enough keeping up with the times as an adult, but many parents out there are resorting to these technological advances a little too much. Sure, things are easier now, but that does not mean that certain things should be ignored or overlooked. It is still necessary to be a parent and to do some parenting in this so-called “digital age.”
Many of us have seen plenty of cartoons where homes are kept in order by programmed robots and other Artificial Intelligence, but there really is no substitute for the babysitter. Many more parents these days plop their kids in front of the TV equipped with on-demand channels or Netflix to appease their children while they do chores or other activities. Some parents are resorting to giving their children their phones or iPads to play with while mommy and daddy deal with grown up stuff. While these sorts of things may be great for a quiet afternoon or a long car ride, kids still need supervision. Simply putting on the TV or an interactive online game is not the same as having an adult presence. Doing so may lead to behavioral issues, and children may not listen and will prefer to do whatever they want, especially if they are not used to having an adult around. Kids may become more demanding when it comes to using these technologies. For example, if they are not used to watching TV or playing games for set periods of time, they may have difficulties understanding times where they are denied access or it is taken away from them.
There are other dangers to letting your TV or tablet become your babysitter. When kids are left to their own devices, they are often subservient to something called “curiosity.” Kids will explore other channels, look at other on-demand options, browse Netflix, or may even search the web. Many parents use parental controls to prevent these sorts of things from happening, but parents who are not around may not realize what content their children are being exposed to.
Apps and e-books for Kids

This is why it is so important to guide kids through the digital age. While one argument may arise that states to simply cut down on technology, which is still a good thing, it is also unavoidable in today’s society. Instead of letting Netflix babysit your kid, have yourself or an actual babysitter sit and explore it with them. Whether it is the TV, a tablet, or a phone, offering the proper guidance can help kids foster a healthy relationship with technology. It is imperative to help kids refrain from growing too reliant on technology, which may be the case if they are exposed to it for long periods of time, therefore making it hard adjusting to other activities.

Spending personal time with your children is important, so make sure that any time spent looking at online content or utilizing any of the world’s fabulous technological advances, are shared, healthy and informative. Having all of these aspects present can help create a healthy relationship between your child and technology where they can adapt to new advances without suffering socially or emotionally, with or without them.

Quick Tip: Get them their very own personalized book where they become the main character in the story.  This will sure excite them and take them away from digital technology and get them to read a book and enjoy it! Get a personalized book for your child today!