9 Hidden Dangers of Letting Your Kids Use Technology

Tech Talk 25

girl and tabletIt is a high tech world. I love it and I don’t know how we survived before everyone had access to cells phones and the Internet. Honestly, if you tried to take either away from me today, I’d probably fight you to the death and you’d still have to pry my iPhone out of my cold dead hands.

As we advance technologically, it's becoming the norm to see toddler and certainly elementary school aged children on laptops, iPods, iPads, iPhones and the internet, usually playing educational games or watching cartoons so that their parents can keep them occupied. I have no problem with this. Our girls have DS’s and now they have Nabi tablets , MP3 players and we own every educational game system available since the girls were toddlers. They do homework on the laptop and know their way around technology ... like every other kid we know.

It’s progress, right? Maybe. I used to think so but now I am not so sure because while we were all so excited about technologically advancing our children we completely overlooked the hidden dangers of kids using technology.

For instance:

  1. Surprise bills from iTunes This is a lesson I learned very recently and the hard way. My daughters had finished their homework and did their chores, they asked me if I could buy them a dress up game they had been wanting on the iPad called Sporty Girl Dress up. It was only $1.99 so I bought it. Unfortunately, every time they clicked on an outfit to dress up in, it charged me $1.99. It didn’t ask to confirm the purchase, it only asked, “ Do you want this?” and the girls obviously wanted it. Long story short, I got a surprise bill for $80. I’m sure this is not the only unethical game around so beware.
  2. Accidentally seeing something inappropriate Pop ups. Even if you childproof that sucker, your kid still could accidentally see something that you are not ready to explain like two men kissing or a woman giving birth. Nothing wrong with either but unless you are comfortable having that conversation with your 3-year-old, don’t do it.
  3. More awkward social skills The more our children immerse themselves in the cyber world, the less their social skills are developing. They need to interact in real time, face to face, not just via face time. Unless you want the norm for all people to meet others to be via sites like Match.com, teach your kids how to live in the real world.
  4. No patience, expecting the entire world to provide instant gratification In the digital world, there is no wait time. You type it in and beep, boop, beep, there it is. In the real world, people need time. Things take time and our children need to learn patience and understanding or they are going to spend a lot of time disappointed and angry.
  5. Interacting with unsavory characters You hear about kids talking to pedophiles online all the time and not knowing it. How could they? How can any of us know who is real and what is bullshit when we are talking via social media?
  6. Sending inappropriate photos Cell phone cameras are not the friend of tweens and teens. They are too naive to understand what can happen to nude photos and sexts sent and intended for one person. They don’t realize that once they go out they are no longer private or personal.
  7. Giving out private information to potential criminals I had a cousin who tweeted every move she made, including where she was  going, when she was going what she was wearing and once she even status updated her Facebook with her address saying she was bored and if anyone wanted to come over they should.
  8. Obesity Your kid sits all day playing with tech, they move less, they get fat; end of story. Nobody wants their child to be unhealthy or overweight so limit the online time.
  9. Addiction Kids can get addicted to technology. It’s a crutch. They get used to having those online connections and they don’t want to give them up. Don’t fool yourself, it’s like cyber crack.

How much time a day do your children spend using technology?

Image via The TRUTH about Motherhood

books & media, internet, technology

25 Comments

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lasombrs lasombrs

You can turn off in app purchases or leave no card or paypal linked to your accound to prevent that. My child has an ipad for school for communicating and thats what i did. I also have the wifi turned off so he cant access anything online at all (after two days of wanting to watch you tube videos all day we learned that step quick!). But its his computer, he won it from a special needs charity, so it is not a bother to have to turn those things back on. It is only a learning device for him.

Deborah TruthfulMommy Cruz

@lasombrs That is what we did, turned off app purchases and unlinked a credit card from the itunes account:)

nonmember avatar Shannon

To the author, I don't know how old your girls are, but I suspect based on them playing the game "Sporty Girl Dress Up" they are pre-teen or younger. Guess what" They are too young for tablets, Ipods, etc. The problem today is we are handing technology to children at younger and younger ages before they are old and mature enough to handle it. When your girls are done with their chores, send them outside to play or ride bikes.

mande... manderspanders

Amen, Shannon.

My husband and I have already decided that our child will not be allowed to handle a cell phone as an infant, will not have a tablet, ds, ipod, or laptop...probably indefinitely. I will make sure basic computer skills are learned, but I don't care what technological advances are made, you can't learn about life, build good core values, and develop the skills necessary to navigate life sitting behind a screen.

Michelle Harvey

My 3 year old son has an iPad; he is autistic. The camera is turned off, in-app purchases, web browser, app store, and ability to delete apps are turned off, and on top of that, if he's using it, we have it set to only show apps rated to 4 year olds. We can also set the rating for music, movies, and language. We can even lock it into one particular app and disable whatever part of the screen we want (which we do often with Netflix since that isn't rated for ages 4+). We haven't ha to disable the wifi since everything else is locked down; a few of his apps access specific videos on youtube that are educational.

And he runs around with it since it's in a super protective case. He'll put it down, run off, play with something else, come back to it later. He has no way to interact with anyone online even if he did know how to do it. Sure, there's the facebook app but it's logged into either my profile or his father's. He's really not interested in it anyway, he wants his alphabet and counting apps.

I'm not worried about the rest of your list. But I'd recommend you become more familiar with your iPad's restriction settings. There are plenty of them.

nonmember avatar kevobx

Did your parents not tell you, there is nothing for free in this world? Then why is the internet always offering free downloads among free stuff, they like you dumb unable to speak not asking questions, because it is against their law.

nonmember avatar Em

Shannon, Denying kids of technology completely isn't the answer either. My 3 year old uses an iPad for educational apps and my kindle fire for books. She also does chores, rides her bike, gets books from the library, socializes in the real world...all of the things other healthy kids do. Screen time is earned, limited, and highly monitored. Not all kids who use screens are lazy fat asses who need to "go ride their bikes". Completely disallowing devices won't teach your kids how to use them safely and appropriately.

bubba258 bubba258

My teens have smart phones and laptops they use in short spurts.5-10mins here n there. My 7 & 4 yr old don't use technology at all.

Beth3721 Beth3721

My daughter received a nabi2 for Christmas.  We have not regulated it as much as we should.  Now everything else is "boring" for her.

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