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Smartphones, Tablets, and Electronic Screen Devices - Boon or Bane

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Smartphones, Tablets, and Electronic Screen Devices - Boon or Bane

3 min read


Gadgets are taking over an individual’s life greatly (positively and negatively). In this article we will discuss if these gadgets are a boon or bane.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. K. Shobana

Published At January 24, 2019
Reviewed AtJanuary 19, 2023


Children today have something dominating their everyday life, which was not present even a generation ago. Many parents are perplexed and confused about how to handle this new phenomenon. The ubiquitous gadgets like smartphones, tablets, iPad, and playstation, which can be fun and stimulating are the topic of discussion here. But, they are also potentially harmful devices that need to be managed sensibly. Children find these devices fascinating. They play games and watch videos. Older children and adolescents use it for social media to stay connected to their friends and peers. While there is no doubt that these devices are helpful, we also need to be mindful of their deleterious effects.

One common question every parent has in their mind all the time is ‘how much screen time is fine for their children?’. No definite answer can be applied universally to all children. Some guidance says that there is little evidence to show that screen use for children is harmful. However, there has been another recent study to show that children's psychological well-being starts to deteriorate after an average of one hour of screen viewing per day. If these devices are used appropriately, they will develop a child’s knowledge and help them in staying connected positively. Unsupervised and unregulated screen time can harm a child’s development and prevent them from having real-life experiences. Parents should make sure children’s sleep, exercise, and family time are not compromised by excessive screen time.

These devices have become an inevitable part of modern life. Parents simply cannot ban these from their children’s lives, as invariably, they will have access to smartphones through friends and peers. We can try and inculcate sensible use of these devices from an early age.

What Are Some of the Common Impacts of Gadgets on Children?

  • Extended exposure to gadgets like smartphones, and electronic gadgets will affect the brain development of children and will result in conditions like attention deficit, hyperactivity, etc.

  • Certain studies suggest that exposure to gadgets for a longer period of time will delay language development in children.

  • There are high chances of children becoming emotionally attached to these gadgets and withdrawal from them can influence them to throw extreme tantrums.

  • Using these gadgets during their bedtime can deprive the children of sleep. This can keep them low the following day and it can affect their performances in school or academics.

  • Motor development can be drastically affected due to this extended exposure to gadgets or increased screen time. Since children spend most of their time in front of gadgets and televisions, they fail to spend time outdoors. They do not get time to play sports or activities outdoors and thus, that will drastically affect their motor development.

  • Certain health bodies have suggested that overuse of gadgets and extended screen time may affect the behaviors and values of children largely. These children may become more aggressive and lack family values.

  • Psychological damages are one another threatening adverse effects of overuse of gadgets. It can make the children more prone to psychological conditions like anxiety, depression, etc.

What Are Some of the Suggestions to Maintain Screen Time Including Television?

  • Set clear boundaries and stick to them. Agree with the child about sensible screen time daily (for example, it can be one hour daily with some flexibility during weekends and holidays). It may be difficult initially, but eventually, the child will come to accept the rules. This will prevent the child from getting glued to the screen and avoid the danger of developing an addiction. Along with this, the child should be encouraged to do outdoor activities.

  • As parents, we need to be good role models. If we browse or use smartphones indiscriminately, children will follow them. Thus, it is important for parents to reduce their screen time, especially in front of children, thus, they can derive some inspiration from their parents.

  • Avoid using smartphones and iPad during meals. It is important for various reasons. An important one would be the decreased salivary production if the individual is not looking at the food while eating. This may affect the digestion process largely.

  • Avoid the use of these screens at least an hour before bedtime. The light from these screens has been known to disrupt natural sleep hormone (melatonin) secretion and contribute to poor sleep. So insist on switching off these devices at least an hour before planned bedtime. Rather, the child should be encouraged to read books before bedtime. This can improve various characteristics in the child such as communication, creativity, etc.

  • Encourage lots of physical play. Take the children to parks, beaches, zoos, and other outdoor areas whenever possible.

  • Help children to develop some positive hobbies according to their taste and aptitude. These need to be stimulating enough for them to engage consistently. Do not make the mistake of thrusting your interests into your children.

  • Monitor social media accounts of teenagers tactfully. Teenagers would like their privacy, so discuss sensibly and educate them about the dangers of cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and related problems. Consider using parental control apps appropriately.

  • To sum up, these screen devices are like a double-edged sword. It is the duty and responsibility of parents to teach their children how to use these devices safely.


There is no doubt that gadgets are a boon to us in many ways, but it is a universal fact that it is affecting the quality of life for both adults and children. Gadget addiction is a real thing and proper monitoring should be done, in order to prevent the addiction from getting on to us. Following the above suggestions will help the children de-addict from gadgets. But it should start with adults. Adults should be role models.

Frequently Asked Questions


At What Age Should a Child Be Allowed a Smartphone?

Children should not be given smartphones till they reach at least ten years. It takes at least these many years for the child to develop various skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking. However, even after this age, the child should not be allowed to access all the contents of the internet, and there should be some form of parental control.


Can Smartphones Cause Harm to Children?

Yes, smartphones can cause harm to children. Over-usage of smartphones can affect the overall development of the child. The content accessed through smartphones puts children under a lot of influence. Also, the blue light emitted by these devices is very harmful.


What are the Advantages of a Child Owning a Smartphone?

The advantages of a child owning a smartphone include the following:
- Encourages learning.
- Overcoming social and geographical barriers.
- Teaches responsibility.
- Ensures the safety of the children.


Why Should Children Not Be Allowed a Phone?

Children should not be allowed a phone of their own due to the following reasons:
- It can act as a cause of distraction.
- Avoid other activities, such as playing outdoors.
- Limited interaction with family and other social structures.
- It can cause a reduction in academic performance. 
- Exposure to unwanted information online.


Is It Advisable for a Parent to Check the Child’s Phone?

It can be sensitive for a parent to check a child's phone. This can be a very tricky situation for both the parents and the child. However, superficial supervision is absolutely necessary in the modern-day world. Parents can check a child's phone to prevent him from knowing unwanted things.


Do Smartphones and Tablets Affect a Child’s Brain?

Yes, a smartphone can affect a child’s brain development. It can alter the normal functioning of the brain. The usage of smartphones is associated with addictive behavior. It may also cause changes in the social skills of the child. Hence, the overuse of smartphones can affect a child’s overall cognitive development.


What Are the Ways to Break a Child’s Phone Addiction?

The ways to break a child’s phone addiction include:
- Limiting the screen usage time.
- Rewarding the screen-free time.
- Engaging the child in various other activities. 
- The parent must, as a practice, minimize phone usage.
- Having definitive rules such as no phones in the bedroom and while eating.


What Are the Symptoms of Excess Screen Time?

The symptoms of excessive screen time can be both physical and psychological. The various symptoms of excessive screen time can include:
- Headache.
- The blurring of vision.
- Redness and itching of the eyes.
- Difficulty sleeping difficulty.
- Lack of concentration.
- Decreased social and interpersonal skills.
- Decreased problem-solving ability.


Do Kids Need Privacy?

Yes, kids absolutely need privacy. Irrespective of age, everyone needs privacy. A person can introspect and collect one’s thoughts in their private time. It helps them develop responsibility and gain control over their thoughts and actions. Hence parents should give their children some privacy but not total privacy altogether.


Is taking away a phone a good punishment?

According to psychology, taking away one’s phone is a negative punishment. When somebody’s phone is taken away, they can act in two types of ways. The first one is that the child may listen to their parents when the phone is taken away and cooperate with them. The second one is that the child may become aggressive and adamant. Hence such methods of behavior modification should be used selectively.


Why Should a Parent Not Limit the Child’s Screen Time?

A parent should not limit a child’s screen time as it may have negative consequences, such as
- Becoming more distracted.
- Sneaking the usage of mobile phones.
- The child may get anxious or stressed.
Source Article IclonSourcesSource Article Arrow
Dr. Suresh Kumar G D
Dr. Suresh Kumar G D



child behaviorparentingwarning signs in childrenscreen addiction
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