As a person who has grown up when the Internet was getting big, I was glued to the TV as a kid. I remember getting up every Saturday morning to watch weekend cartoons with my brothers all day.
I’m seeing more kids out in public playing on iPads or their parents’ phones. I didn’t have that luxury as a child, but as a privileged person who has her phone and is also constantly on it, I honestly hate it.
Especially with kids.
I’m not here to critique anyone’s parenting or telling anyone that giving their kid their phones are wrong, because honestly, letting a kid fool around on a mobile device is probably what gets them to shut up in public. I don’t have kids of my own, so what do I know, huh? Still, I have never seen children so addicted to those small devices that they play on.
You know when you go out to eat with friends and family, we’re all there to socialize with each other and have a good time? I remember from experience that being a kid around a bunch of grown-ups talking about grown-up stuff was boring and all I could do was sit in my lonely corner coloring what was left of those trash coloring pages they hand out at restaurants that were mostly colored in already. (I’m looking at you Village Inn).
Enough about the miserable past without cell phones, I’m talking about now and what I see.
I see kids throwing fits in public when their parents take their own phones back. I see kids with headphones in their ears watching YouTube videos at the dinner table and getting angry when people are trying to talk to them. Kids watch the TV screens at restaurants while they’re eating their food, completely entranced at the boring golf game in front of them. Might I also point out the fact that many restaurants have tablets at the table with different apps for kids to play on.
It makes me wonder: Why are smart devices so addictive?
I read a couple of different articles about “smartphone addiction” (yeah, it’s a real thing) and according to www.psychalive.org, smartphones actually trigger a dopamine release, and we all know that dopamine is the chemical that makes us feel good. This article states that responding to a text message so quickly is because it makes us feel good and it sets us in a “dopamine loop.” Once we’re in that loop, it’s harder for us to stop looking at our phones waiting for a new message from someone or scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and for children, those new notifications for their games that they’re playing.
It’s not just games on smart devices that trigger this “dopamine loop” for kids, it’s YouTube. That app probably gets everyone hooked on it because of the different content that’s uploaded to fit everyone’s likes and interests. These types of apps and games are causing less social interaction in kids.
How can a kid learn how to communicate when they’re glued to a false reality?
Looking at it now, many kids these days don’t experience proper social interaction. I see kids screaming at their parents and cursing at them because it’s the same behavior they find in YouTube videos. I see kids hitting their parents because they won’t let them watch any more videos.
I’ve talked with a couple of parents and they talk about how the only disciplinary actions they can use against their kids is to limit their screen times. According to the parents, that doesn’t do much.
I think kids shouldn’t be introduced to smartphones or smart technology until they’re old enough to understand the language they’re speaking and basic human interactions, and that’s around 11 to me. Kids need to spend more time “playing pretend”; I’m not seeing that anymore. I would love to spend more time with kids because I can tolerate them and I love playing those pretend games with them.
I see 8 year old kids who would rather have an iPhone X over toys and that’s a problem. There are viral memes about kids getting “screen time” taken away and it’s all taken as a joke, but it really shouldn’t. Kids need to keep their childhood and I think that with smart technology they’re being forced to grow up in a way that’s taking it away from them.