Today, kids are growing up immersed in technology and using it earlier than ever before – there are several apps specifically developed for children 2 to 6 years old. Both kids and adults are also spending more and more time in front of screens.
Technology offers a variety of ways to learn, communicate and entertain, but like everything else, it’s best in moderation. Its overuse has been linked to several problems in adolescents, including sleep and eating disorders, attention problems, lower academic performance, obesity and family dysfunction.
“The infiltration of technology in our lives is often so subtle we don’t notice it,” says Eric S. Perez, M.D., pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “Parents might let a child play on an iPad during dinner to keep him occupied and at the table. They themselves may frequently consult a cell phone during a meal. Soon technology becomes a constant guest at the dinner table, and eventually, no one talks to each other.”
Here’s how to help your kids balance their time online and offline.