Most of the parents give mobile or tabs to children or even allow them to watch TV for keeping them silent. Though it works pretty well, it already have several drawbacks, which has been proved by several studies. A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics points out how the the use of mobile devices to calm young children’s emotions and behaviour is associated with long-term difficulties with their executive functioning and emotional reactivity.
The Researchers looked at the way digital devices were used to soothe upset children aged between 3 and 5 years old. The study involved 422 parents and the same number of children and was carried out between August 2018 and January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic upended schools and home life.
The researchers found that increased use of devices as calming mechanisms was linked to greater emotional reactivity or dysregulation in the kids over the course of several months. They found that the association was particularly strong in young boys and in children who already had signs of hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and a strong temperament. They doubted if these gadgets could prevent kids from developing their own ways of regulating emotions.
The researchers suggest that short-term relief from an upset child might be leading to long-term problems with their emotional development. Other ways of coping can get shut out.
The authors are keen to emphasize that device use in moderation can be useful and can’t easily be eliminated altogether while also warning that it shouldn’t be used as a primary or frequent way of trying to keep children calm.
The researchers say that sensory experiences (from listening to music to squishing putty in their hands to jumping on a trampoline), and deliberate naming of emotions to help understand them could be an option.
Colour -coding emotions can also help kids learn, identify and understand their moods, and easily communicate how they are feeling. Offering replacement behaviours, including hitting a pillow, rather than hitting a sibling or a friend, can also help, they explained.