Kids and Gadgets: The Good and The Bad

Here are some of the positive and negative effects of gadgets on kids.

Updated on August 14, 2017 15:08 pm

Jemma Chiu

the pros and cons of kids using electronic gadgets

Technology plays a key role in many aspects of our lives—raising children included. Dr. Nirmala Karuppiah from the National Institute of Education conducted a study in 2013 and looked at how 60 Singaporean pre-schoolers use certain gadgets like computers, tablets, and smartphones. The study found out that 65 percent started using electronic devices at age three and only few parents supervised them. It then concluded that children using electronic gadgets at a younger age are increasingly exposed to certain social and health risks.

Before you hand your kids any gadget, take a look at some of the pros and cons of allowing them easy access to technology:

The Good Side

children playing games on the computer

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1. It helps develop their cognitive skills.

Technology has made different activities within reach. Playing, scribbling, and even competing are made even more accessible—giving kids a wide selection of interactive and educational apps, as well as games that help develop their analytical skills. A study at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) revealed that playing video games for an hour every day can improve children’s performance on some cognitive tasks because the mental processes involved are the same. For example, matching and spatial memory games like Bejeweled improve kids’ capability on visual search tasks.

kids become savvy in finding information they need online

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2. They know where to find information when they need it.

Schools teach kids new things every day, but having access to a gadget also allows them to learn whenever they want. If your kid wants to learn about a new hobby or research about their homework on their own, online access is a must. They also get to discover new interests with the help of their gadgets—whether it be reading short stories online or watching educational videos on YouTube.

smartphones and tablets are a source of entertainment for children

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3. It's a great source of entertainment.

Gadgets don’t just help your kids; they help you, too. You can just simply leave them with their smartphone or tablet and you won’t have to worry about them for hours, allowing you to attend to your household tasks. It also provides them great deal of fun because of the content available online such as games, cartoons, and other entertaining videos.

setting up a GPS tracker lets you know where your kids are

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4. It gives them security, and gives you peace of mind.

One of the best features of giving your kids gadgets is that it allows you to track them whenever they are out of your sight. A phone allows you to call or text them. Most smartphones also have a GPS so you can track them whenever needed. Navigation apps are also great in giving them direction if they’re not with you.

The Bad Side

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1. They become sedentary.

Kids who are too engrossed with their gadgets tend to have less physical activities. They would rather stay home and skip outdoor activities such as playing with other kids or committing to any sports. This leads to a sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits and time management, as well as poor health. Experts at Harvard School of Public Health found that children who use their gadgets for more than five hours a day have an increased chance of becoming obese.

kids might come across inappropriate content online while using electronic gadgets

2. Inappropriate content is everywhere.

With access to gadgets, kids are also exposed to different types of content and that is something parents cannot control. Internet connectivity allows them to go to websites that should not be accessed, read, or watched by kids as this may affect their views of the world. Cyberbullying has also become another relevant issue that your kid may be subjected to.

kids become less sociable and does not make friends

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3. They become less sociable.

Gadgets take your kids away from family time and outdoor activities which allow them to make new friends. During social gathering, they tend to just stay in one corner and get lost in the virtual world of their screens. Have you noticed this behaviour when you visit relatives? This may also affect the way they communicate and express themselves in the future.

kids get addicted to using electronic gadgets

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4. They lose track of time.

Once your child becomes addicted to these devices, they will start to lose track of time and forget other important things they should be doing such as eating, doing their homework, or even sleeping. According to a study by NTU and the National University Hospital, four out of 10 primary school children in Singapore are not getting enough sleep as watching television and using smartphones and computers are their most popular activities pre-bedtime.


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Cover photo courtesy of freemake.com

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