- Inability to focus on a single task - Thanks to those ‘unmissable’ cartoon shows on the tv and the "must-have" mobile applications for kids, children and teens are masters at multitasking. It’s not necessarily a good thing though, particularly when your kid has to concentrate on a single job (e.g., take an hour-long test). Ironic as it might seem, absence of distractions can make it difficult for him or her to focus.
- Creativity and imagination powers getting stunted - There might be the occasional instructive television show, informative presentation or standout mobile storytelling app for kids - but most regular instances of technology have a set way of working. Avoid letting your kid spend hours on end pressing the buttons of video gaming consoles. Most of these games have pre-specified sets of instructions, leaving children with little scope to develop their creativity.
- Loss of sensory balance - What can possibly be wrong about a bright little kid giggling along, while watching a television show or funny video clippings? Quite a lot, if medical studies are to be taken into account. Most sophisticated technological tools and gadgets place an enormous load on the visual and auditory senses of kids - at the expense of the balanced development of their motor skills and even their natural digestive capabilities. A preschooler overexposed to technology has a chance of becoming a teen with neurological issues in a few years.
- Replacement of the human touch - This is akin to a twisted version of Frankenstein’s tale. If you get lots of iPhone apps for kids and/or piles of DVDs for your child, you are might be encouraging him/her to use these things as a substitute of yourself (and other family-members). Try snuggling up to your child while (s)he is busy playing games on Playstation - and you might be surprised at the evident irritation on his/her face!
- Technology can foster laziness - Practically everything can be done by a few button-clicks or finger taps on mobile screens - so why bother doing any hard work? Even a gadget as basic as a calculator can take away the willingness (and often, even the ability) of kids to do simple mathematical calculations on their own. In general too, the idea of spending an entire day on the couch in front of a TV screen might seem irresistible to a kid.
- The obesity problem - This is basically an extension of the previous point. If your child foregoes physical exercises and activities to stay cooped up with a video game or an engaging iPhone app for kids - obesity might begin to make an unwelcome appearance before long. The risk is even more if your kid gets addicted to television. A healthy kid is supposed to be active and rather naughty - staying still for extended hours with a device in hand is simply not natural.
- Behavioral patterns take a hit - Texting during meals, becoming inattentive while a favorite TV program is being aired, staying up at odd hours to check out all the features of new mobile apps - all of these indicate that your kid’s general sense of discipline may be off. In addition, when technology takes center stage in a child’s life, everyday routines also can become hampered. Parents know the frustrations of calling their kids for dinner - only for the child to respond that (s)he will come after finishing a game.
- Technology can be counter-productive on impressionable minds - Experts from mobile application development companies in India and abroad often advise against downloading movie-streaming apps for kids, due to this reason. There is no dearth of films and video clippings with objectionable content (ranging from graphic violence and abuse, to dangerous stunts and unsuitable scenes of physical intimacy) - and a young child can get all sorts of wrong ideas from them. In countries around the world, there have been reports of horrific accidents, when kids have tried to emulate the actions of their favorite superheroes.
- Book-reading loses its charm - There might be hundreds of mobile reading apps for kids available online - but they can NEVER become substitutes of printed books. A toddler might have fun learning the English alphabets with the help of such applications, but an interest in reading actual story books and texts also has to be fostered in them. Technology has brought about a lot of changes to everyday life, but one thing it has not undermined is the value of reading books - the ones with paper pages, that is!
- Jealousy rearing its ugly head - Your kid does not have the latest Nintendo game, and his/her best buddy has just got it. Can you really blame your child for feeling just a bit jealous? Such unhealthy peer-pressure can lead to more serious consequences too, with children at times even trying to cause harm to those who are apparently ‘superior’. You might even be blamed by your kid, for not pampering him/her as much as your next-door neighbor does.
Ross Smythe is the chief concept developer at Teknowledge Mobile Studio. He regularly writes on the web over a various topics related to education technology.