Children nowadays have grown up in a technologically advanced society, making them much more tech-savvy than even some adults, especially elderly people. Since everyone is stuck at home, parents have become more lenient towards their children’s screen time.
(Photo : Mirko Sajkov from Pixabay)
Children as young as three could already access apps meant for adults.
Nevertheless, since working parents have to bring their job at home and children have to go to school via the internet, relaxing children’s use of phones and other devices have become more acceptable.
Access to Apps Meant for Adults
In a report by CNN, author and pediatrician Dr. Tanya Altmann believes it is alright to be more lenient towards children and their use of smartphones as long as they are healthy, have enough sleep, exercise, downtime, and are eating right.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean parents should start relaxing entirely.
In the same report, CNN noted that a recent study that was published in Pediatrics showed that children as young as three years old are already accessing apps that are meant for 17-year-olds.
The study was done by following the screen use of 350 children between the ages of three and four for nine months between 2018 and 2019.
This is alarming, given that these apps often have themes that are meant for adult use.
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Exposed to Adult Themes Like Violence
“We found dozens of apps in the output from children’s mobile devices that were violent,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky, lead author of the paper and a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and researcher at the Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
According to Dr. Radesky, that was among the most concerning things they found through the study.
Among the most common apps, they have been accessing are games filled with violence and horror, including Granny, Terrorist Shooter, Gun Fu, and the popular video game Fortnite.
“We didn’t interview parents about their child’s device settings, but we guessed that these children did not have any need for parent authorization to download new apps,” the researcher added.
Most of these apps can be easily downloaded and are free via Android’s Google PlayStore and Apple’s App Store.
Besides the apps that children can access, they can access videos that are not suited for their age and that young children are spending too much time on YouTube, with some streaming videos until midnight or even until 3 a.m. to 4 a.m., especially young kids that have their own devices.
Screentime of Young Children
The researchers were able to know the children’s screen times using an app that captures a device’s usage data and sends it to them every 15 minutes.
With that, they were able to find out that 37% of the parents underestimated their children’s screen time and that 35% of them overestimated, often being off on an average of 70 minutes.
Meanwhile, only 25% of them were able to correctly tell how long their kids have been using smartphones and similar devices.
This could be troubling news as previous research shows that too much time using phones could negatively affect a children’s growth. They could also develop aggressive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings when exposed to violent themes as a child.
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