The use of digital devices affects children's mental health positively.
It was revealed that the use of digital devices for 1 or 2 hours a day had a positive effect on the well-being and mental health of children. While underlining that children should not be exposed to digital devices in the first two years of their lives especially in terms of brain development, Child Development Specialist Nursaç Yıldız said, “In the following years, it is necessary to introduce the child in a planned and gradual way.”
Digital devices are now an inevitable part of everyday life. Ease of use and finding a product for almost everyone's budget makes it even easier to access digital devices, games and online platforms. According to a study conducted by Oxford University with Cardiff and Cambridge University, it was suggested that the use of digital devices for 1 or 2 hours a day had a positive effect on the well-being and mental health of children. The findings of the study, conducted with more than 35,000 American children and their parents, were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. The results of the study indicated that children with limited time access to digital devices tend to show a higher level of 'psychosocial' functioning than those who never use it.
LEADING TO LONELINESS AND LACK OF COMMUNICATION
While Nursaç Yıldız, a faculty member from the Department of Child Development of Nişantaşı University, evaluating the results of the research, she said “The research does not include what kind of content the users are exposed to on the devices. However, the factor that will affect the psychological state of the users is also the content as much as the time. The most important fact of our social life is communication. We interact with our environment by communicating. The most important element of communication is to use language. A young person who spend most of his/her time with digital devices will have difficulties in using the language, therefore he/she will fail to communicate with people. Although digital devices have become an indispensable building block due to their content and the conveniences it provides, we must protect ourselves and our children from becoming addicted to these devices. Especially adolescents create an artificial world belonging to them and a social environment belonging to this world through social media. The difficulties they have experienced in getting out of their artificial worlds and interacting with their original environment lead them to more loneliness and lack of communication."
MINUTES' WARNING FOR CHILDREN AGED 3-5
After she said “It is very important not to expose children to the screens of digital devices in the first two years of their life, especially in terms of brain development. It is necessary to introduce the child to these devices in a planned and gradual way, in the following years.”, Nursaç Yıldız stated the following:
“According to the study performed by the Ministry of National Education on this subject, preschool period (3-5 years old) is an appropriate age range to introduce these devices. Children in this age range should spend 30 minutes a day facing the screen. This period is 45 minutes a day in primary school, 1 hour a day in secondary school and 2 hours a day in high school.”
WARNING TO PARENTS: THEY SHOULD HAVE TIME AND CONTENT RESTRICTIONS
Yıldız, who warned parents about the issue, said, “One of the issues that parents should pay attention to first is that their children must be completely safe while spending time with these devices. It is important for families to know what children are doing during their time with digital devices, which websites they use if they are using the internet, what kinds of posts they share on their social media, and to constantly control them to prevent cyber outrages and personal data use that children may experience in terms of that are not to be taken over by malicious people. However, digital devices such as computers or tablets used in the home should not belong to the person but should be a common item of the house. Parents should definitely inform the children about how to use these devices. They should also spend quality time with children, completely independent from these devices. This time should encourage the child to chat, express himself and empathize with his environment. They should also impose time and content restrictions. While doing all this, the family should always be a role model to the child and what they say and their behavior should not contradict each other”Release date: 29.01.2020