4-year-old technology addict
Children as young as 4 years old are receiving therapy for technology addiction.
I happened across this article on The Telegraph and read it with a measure of both 'hmmm I knew this was going to happen sooner or later' and 'good grief it’s already happening!'

This is a very scary scenario that we all have to take very seriously. The development of your child’s brain is at its most creative during the formative years and what goes in during ages 0-7 pretty much stays in. So if your kid is developing a serious relationship with an electronic device at age four, it probably means they’re going to be bosom buddies for life.

Common sense has to prevail. Clearly leaving your kid to spend that amount of time with an electronic device, even a television, is not a good thing. However, it’s very easy to let it be, so to speak, as it demands more time and energy from us to actively engage with our kids instead of leaving them to their own devices. No surprises then that these creative little developing minds have already created their own little worlds in cyberspace, staring into a screen and happily cultivating relationships with animated images.

I suppose it’s not unlike kids developing imaginary friends during that age. The big difference is that the imaginary friend scenario can be a healthy thing as it stimulates and enhances creativity, because the child conjures up its own mental images. Hannah had a whole imaginary family at age four whom she referred to as her Christmas family. I did some research on the imaginary scenario and realised it has its pros as long as it’s balanced with reality and gentle reminding of real life.

The trouble with giving a four year old over two hours a day of access to a device that supports video files, picture files, audio etc. is that the creativity is subscriptive and likely to influence their developing perception of reality.

We have to guard against this. Technology is here to stay and we must embrace it, but it must be supervised and managed by us parents. You really must take the time to understand the new technologies and experience it together with your child. It’s vitally important that you put the unknown nuances of the new technologies into perspective for your kids.

Technology is moving ahead at an alarming speed. Already Google’s developers have announced a special kind of spectacles that can record everything you see without anyone being none the wiser. Can you imagine the implications? New laws and social etiquette are being bandied about to balance the privacy infringes that these new developments are creating. However, our parental responsibility remains the first line of defense and it must begin in the home during the development years. If a situation like this four year old's addiction becomes the norm, it might not be that far-fetched to imagine a future with no human interaction at all. Maybe it can’t be stopped, but I for one would like to see it delayed a bit longer so that I have the time to teach my kids a healthy balance between the new and the old.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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