Consequences of using mobile phones for babies

Baby mobile phones and tablets should not be the toy of the youngest children. Mobile and tablet gaming is affecting hours of manipulative and social play.

Technological advances are present in our day to day life and that of our children. Children are exposed to them and end up becoming users of technology at an earlier and younger age. Avoiding them 100% is almost impossible, but it is possible to expose ourselves with a responsible attitude. Increasingly, alerts about the potential dangers of screens in child development are more frequent. It is true that children are in full growth and development, so they cannot be equated with the adult. For this reason, they are usually more vulnerable to the effects of the environment. In this case we are going to analyze the possible effects of mobile phones for babies based on the latest studies.

What kind of radiation do mobile phones give off to babies?

In nature there are two fundamental types of electromagnetic radiation: ionizing(high energy and that increase the risk of cancer: X-rays, radon or cosmic rays) and non-ionizing (low energy and without current evidence of increased risk of Cancer).
Radio frequency energy is the energy emitted by mobile devices and is a type of non-ionizing radiation. This type of radiation can be absorbed by the human body.

Radiofrequency and cancer: is it true?

The only scientifically proven biological effect of radio frequency energy is heating, like that used by microwave ovens. There is no clear evidence that there is a relationship between the use of mobile phones and brain tumors.
Most of the studies are carried out in adults, so they cannot be extrapolated to children. Studies have begun in the pediatric population, since their brain is developing and exposure to radiofrequency may be higher. Preliminary results appear to find no relationship between exposure to mobile phones and pediatric cancer.

Mobile devices for babies and children: facts and figures

Mobile phones for babies and tablets should not be the toy of very young children. At this stage of development, other types of games are preferable, but the latest data seems to tell us otherwise.
It is something that worries parents very much, but we can’t seem to do anything about it. Mobile and tablet gaming is affecting hours of manipulative and social play. Lack of limits and control play against parents.

  • 50% of children between one and two years old use their mobile to watch children’s videos.
  • More than 50% of children between one and 12 years old spend more than four hours a week in front of the television.
  • 32% of children under 11 years old consume between one and two hours a day to play with the tablet. Those over 11 years old play an average of four hours a day.
  • In eight-year-olds, only three out of 10 children play more than four hours a week with toys. Those of 11, only two out of ten and those of 12, only nine out of 100.

Why do babies play with mobiles?

The most logical reason is because they have them on hand at any time of the day. Their parents and relatives, owners and users of them, do not stop using them.
On the other hand, they have become the babysitter: the babies get absorbed, reduce their activity and do not bother. It is a fantastic source of entertainment that is always available.

Consequences of using mobile phones for babies

Fundamentally, we can observe these repercussions:

  • Lack of concentration on a certain task: the temptation to use the mobile to make the child eat or allow himself to be dressed is not advisable. With these types of attitudes we only get the child not to be aware of what he is doing and we lose very valuable opportunities to pay attention to a certain task.
  • Social isolation: we are social beings and, from our earliest childhood, what enriches us the most are relationships with other human beings. In babies, this relationship is established through play. The abuse of mobile devices for babies causes the child to play or entertain only when they should spend most of the time sharing with others.
  • Lack of self-control and lack of learning to defer the desire: in the baby and the young child, self-control is worked through the relationship with their parents and siblings and the limits that they establish. The indiscriminate use of the mobile to entertain the baby, preventing him from doing what “he should do”( playing , manipulating objects and interacting with other members of the family), hinders this development of activities such as self-control or the ability to cope with frustration.
  • If we calm the baby before any setback or tantrum with his favorite series on the mobile that we always carry at hand, we are preventing the child from learning to manage his desires and emotions in a healthy way. Instead of making the baby aware of what is happening to him and helping his brain to focus attention, we entertain him and do not train this very important part of his development.
  • Sedentary habits: children and babies have to move and discover the environment in which they live. Playing outdoors, going to the park, running or jumping are much more enriching physically and emotionally than playing screen games or watching videos most of the day. Promoting healthy habits from childhood and encouraging daily physical activity is one of the best health inheritances for the future child and adult.
  • Less exposure to sensory stimuli: babies of one and two years need to move, manipulate things, put everything in their mouth to experiment, because their learning is sensory. If the mobile becomes practically the only source of entertainment, they stop doing what they have to do and they just fix their eyes and move their finger on the screen.
  • Other physical problems: it seems that some specialists warn that they are detecting more eye problems, visual fatigue and back pain in increasingly young children, something that may be linked to the abuse of screens.

And what do we do with mobiles for babies?

It is true that studies are not conclusive about the impact of screens and child development, but what pediatric associations do agree on is that in children under two years of age there is no benefit. There are arguments from neuropsychology that explain that abusive and uncontrolled interaction with electronic devices instead of a more traditional game could condition the functioning and development of the brain and have long-term cognitive and emotional repercussions.

Like everything, in the middle point is virtue. We live in a technological world and isolating children 100% from the reality that adults live is very complex. Criterion, self-control and common sense are once again the essential pillars in parenting.

What you should know…

  • Cell phones and tablets should not be the youngest children’s toy. Mobile and tablet gaming is affecting hours of manipulative and social play.
  • Studies are not conclusive on the impact of screens and child development, but what pediatric associations do agree on is that in children under two years of age there is no benefit.
  • We live in a technological world and isolating children from this reality 100% is complex. Criterion, self-control and common sense are once again the essential pillars in parenting.

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