Traditionally we know the pacifier as an object to which babies cling to suck (as its name implies), in order to calm them in a stressful or painful situation. But did you know that in today's age we all have our own pacifier even as adults? Have you heard of digital pacifier And the addiction to mobile phones and tablets that it can cause?
The much-heard digital pacifier is nothing more than the need to have a technological device at hand to 'calm down', be it a phone or a tablet, any tool that allows us to access the vast world of the Internet. In theory it does not pose such a serious threat, until parents they change the traditional pacifier and give their children a digital pacifier, making their world, their time and their development completely upset.
Technology can be very beneficial for children, since it allows them to access games to activate their brain: learn to read and write, start in mathematics or even learn a new language. The problem is when parents do not put limits on what their children are doing or watching, on the amount of time they spend on it, or on using it as a form of self-control.
As a consequence of this lack of rules or limits, a completely distorted message about the use of new technologies is sent, a dependency on these devices can be generated to carry out daily activities, there may be complications in mental abilities, it can affect quality of children's social relationships ... That is why parents must be attentive to detect when we are using new technologies as a pacifier for children and change habits as soon as possible.
Let's take a closer look at the different consequences that this digital pacifier can have for the little ones in the house.
1. The cognitive dangers of the digital pacifier
Can technology really affect the mental health of children? Yes, it can. This is due to the nature with which programs are presented on the web: from lowering the quality of speech (preventing children from expressing themselves coherently) to action content that can confuse children or create unrealistic expectations.
All of it slows down the learning processas well as higher mental abilities such as memory, information retention or problem solving. This is because children are no longer curious to experiment in the real world, and they expect their favorite character to do it all on screen.
2. There is also emotional danger
Many parents use the 'letter' on the Tablet or Mobile to calm their children when they are restless or bored, but they also use it as a kind of loving compensation, giving a speech of 'I do not have time for you, but I reward you with this'.
Which makes children understand that their love is measured by the quality of a given gift and in the future they will be able to develop a materialistic and consumerist vision of life, always demanding things that they do not need, but that they will always believe will make them feel better than affection.
3. Social dangers for children
Maladaptive behaviors, poor handling of frustration, lack of expression and channeling of emotions, difficulty in interaction and distortion of expectations in the real world ... All this causes conflicts in children, but can also lead to the development of anxieties and even depressions.
4. We cannot forget these physical dangers of the digital pacifier
What do you feel when you spend a lot of time on a computer or tablet? Perhaps a headache, eye discomfort, blurred vision, joint pain, hunched back, tense neck ... Well, these same ailments are also suffered by children, which is very serious since their bodies have not yet fully trained to endure so many hours of muscular tension. This can lead to musculoskeletal problems in the future.
5. Problems in the present and in the future
The complications resulting from the digital pacifier are like two sides of the same coin, that is, any problem that arises in the present will be reflected in the future, even magnified. This change is represented by the level of awareness of the use that can be given to the digital pacifier that children acquire as they grow up and how to manipulate the environment to fit their whims or 'needs'.
With the constant use of the mobile or tablet, even the children's daily computer, it is possible that we can observe a repetitive pattern that, if we let it continue it will be very difficult to reverse. For example:
- Don't eat if you're not watching a video or surfing the web.
- He stays up at night or asks for the tablet to see something before going to sleep.
- When they are in front of the computer, the world ceases to exist for them, they don't even pay attention to you.
- He throws a tantrum if you take the video from him or tell him to turn off the set and he doesn't calm down until you give it to him again.
- He starts a tantrum just for you to give him some electronic gadget.
- It mimics everything you see on the web in the real world.
- Ask for an electronic device more often. If before it did it once a day now it is two or even three times and it lasts longer in it.
- He stops interacting with others or is no longer interested in playing with his toys and outdoors.
As I already mentioned, if these behaviors are not intervened in time, they can continue to manifest themselves in the future, but with a greater and heavier load. For example:
- Insults to parents if they do not give them a mobile device.
- Tendency to aggressive behavior if parents try to restrict their use of these devices.
- Little interaction with peers of his age or with family members in a casual gathering.
- Visual, hearing and muscular health problems due to position and proximity to the screen.
- Problems falling or maintaining quality of sleep.
- They may incur inappropriate web pages or put them at some kind of risk online.
- Demotivation to do school assignments for wanting to see more things on the web.
- Attention and reasoning difficulties in activities.
And, then, what can we do not to end up making technology the only tool that calms our children? How can we avoid the digital pacifier? First of all, we must reflect on how we use technology ourselves and how we offer it to our children. Although sometimes it is easier for the little ones to entertain themselves with the tablet or smartphone while we, for example, prepare food, when we abuse this resource we can end up encouraging the excessive use of mobile devices. Therefore, we must control the time that children spend with their mobile or tablet and propose more family activities.Let's invest in spending quality time together!
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