How To Stop Your Child's Gadget Addiction?
7 min read | Updated on 07-07-2021 by HappyPreggie
Over the years, technology has paved the path for incredible progress in a variety of areas from around the world. It is practically a basic necessity in everybody’s daily life as of today. Gadgets like cell phones and computers have become a huge part of our generation, where they are viewed as the mediums for constant communication and working devices. 

Children with gadget
(Image credits to themirror)

Despite all these good things, it also has its own drawbacks, the most popular one being; addiction. Technology or gadget addiction is more or less the same as other fixations such as alcoholism and gambling. While it is not harmful to your health, it still affects your consciousness and your physical connection to the real world. This is a huge problem as it does not only occur within adults but also in young children.

It is notably known that children are very curious. Watching their parents and the people around them going around with gadgets all the time will definitely spark an interest in their minds to find out what it is all about. While some parents are strict, most usually have no problem with letting their kids explore their smartphones. This is absolutely fine of course until their children begin to become attached to the gadgets.

How does this addiction start?

The current generation's children are intelligent, restless, and active. Most of them are either spending their free time in front of the television or playing with their parents’ smartphones. There are a few reasons that may have led to this influence in technological change.

  • Just like a pacifier, many parents see smartphones as one of the means to keep their children occupied and calm them down. However, at the same time, using it too much will definitely make the kid become too attached to it and thus will keep yearning for it every minute of every day.
  • Some children who are raised in a busy household, normally turn to the television or smartphones as a way to entertain themselves since their parents are always too busy to spend time with them due to their commitment to work.
  • Chasing after achievements in online games can also be a huge contributor to the addiction as children tend to feel competitive with their friends when it comes to who has the highest score or who gets the most online badges.
  • A child who is extremely shy and timid at school can be super friendly online. This is because they feel like they are free from being judged and can make more friends online easily. That way, they will feel better about themselves but will also keep going online to meet with their new friends.

Why is it bad for your child?

Asian blue shirt child crying
(Image credits to iStock)

Recent research shows that about 70% of parents normally have to deal with kids' tantrums when they try to take their smartphones away. This shows that using the gadgets too much will definitely bring in a variety of negative effects to the child including:

  • Risk of obesity; too much time with the screen will lessen their physical activities.
  • Lack of interest in real-life practical skills.
  • Exposure to display of aggressive behaviour from online games.
  • Harder time to concentrate in classes or school.
  • Poor eating habits and time management.

How to stop the addiction?

#1 Talk To Your Child

Explain to your child the reason why you are stopping them from playing with their gadgets. This is to ensure that they do not misunderstand your action of trying to control their life.

Father talking to son Asian
(Image credits to FunshineBlog)

At first, there may be some short tantrums and pleading involved, but as time goes by, they will understand eventually. Remember that you are doing this because you are a loving parent and you are making sure that your child is leading a healthy lifestyle.

#2 Set a Screen Time Limit

Always be aware of what your kid is watching and playing online. Make sure that the content they consume from cartoons and games are appropriate for children their age.

Parent and kid using gadget
(Image credits to storyblocks)

However, it is a solid fact that a lot of schools and kindergartens are using the online distance learning approach during this pandemic. In this case, limiting their screen time to school work and perhaps a little more for some gaming or Youtube should be enough.

#3 Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity

Instead of directly taking away all access to gadgets around the house, you can also start slow by limiting their playing hours. Plan an appropriate amount of screen time for your kids by setting a fixed period such as around 3 hours every day and make them get used to it.

kids have fun with tablet
(Image credits to PositiveParenting)

This is also a chance for you to teach and communicate with your child regarding values and morals, especially in this continuously evolving community. With the way the media and games have been portraying both violence and women, it is very important for your child to be able to differentiate between what is right and wrong.

#4 Be A Good Role Model

It is normal for children to observe and follow their parents’ routines. If they see you gardening, they are more likely to join you. If they see you watching Youtube videos, they will definitely want to watch it too.

Asian mother reading in living room
(Image credits to Freepik)

This is why it is the parents’ responsibility to create a good example in front of your child. Leave your cell phone or laptop for a few hours and do other cultivating things around the house such as reading or trying a new recipe. Other than showing a good image, you can also use this time to focus on activities you enjoy.

#5 Make Time for Your Child

Children who are given a lot of alone time are more likely to become attached to their gadgets. In this case, try to take the initiative to spend as much time as you can with your kids by doing fun, engaging activities like playing hide-and-seek or helping them build their Lego towers.

Mom playing with daughter, Asian family
(Image credits to Freepik)

It may require some effort from your end especially if you are a working parent, but it will mean a lot to your child. After all, they will be remembering their childhood forever and nothing beats the memories that they have made together with their parents.

The improvements of technology in the 21st century has introduced us to a whole new world of various modern gadgets. If your child uses them correctly, these gadgets can provide a number of advantages that can help them be more efficient, aside from enhancing their cognitive skills. However, each positive notion also comes with its own negative consequences. While breaking this gadget addiction may be challenging due to your other obligations as an adult such as work, it is still a great measure to take as a responsible parent. Remember that if there is a will, there is always a way.

Want to read more? Check out these simple ways to handle your upset toddlers and these 6 best traditional Malaysian games to play with your children