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In today’s world, the prevailing mantra seems to be ‘gadgets, gadgets, and more gadgets.’ However, this obsession with gadgets is causing us to miss life’s precious moments that we should cherish and fully experience. Unfortunately, children are often the second most affected by this trend.

Today’s common scenario is the widespread use of gadgets such as television sets, iPads, iPhones, and tablets to entertain or engage children in basic activities like homework completion, calming down, or eating. Even very young children, as young as three years old, are adept at using these gadgets, whether it’s watching cartoons, nursery rhymes, or taking selfies. Witnessing this early addiction to gadgets is truly disheartening.

Some parents resort to handing their child an iPad or iPhone simply to silence their incessant questions and chatter. Unfortunately, they fail to realize they are robbing their child of a proper childhood. By spending all their time with gadgets, these children will have no childhood memories to cherish in the future.


The continuous use of gadgets impacts the child’s mental and physical wellness, so much so, that symptoms of depression, anxiety, gadget addiction, and traits like bad manners, stubbornness, anger, hatred, jealousy, indecency, disrespect, and indiscipline are observed in children. Their brain functions are negatively affected; they have decreased attention spans, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity, and lesser self-regulation ability. The children back-answer/ are rude and do not follow instructions or lead a normal childhood. They turn into bad versions of themselves which is very frightening.


The World Health Organization report of 2011 states that cell phones and other wireless devices are a category 2B risk as they emit radiation, which impairs health.  So the more gadget time your child has, the increased his risk of radiation and allied health hazards.



If the children are prohibited from using the gadget, they throw tantrums and bawl. They tend to get angry and sulk and behave atrociously. They bellow for the gadget and do not cease until it is handed over to them. This increases indiscipline as they refuse to listen to reason.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

Some children are picky eaters, and just so they eat, they are handed a gadget to see cartoons/or such content, just so they get some food in their stomachs. I have seen many mothers do this. But is this type of eating good? Not at all it is the opposite.

Anti Social

 When you take your child to visit relatives, the child is so engrossed in watching the cartoon on the cellphone, that he does not interact with the relatives. He is unable to develop interpersonal skills and becomes anti-social.

weak eyesight--the-aartery-chronicles-tac

Under developed Reflexes

The continuous touch screen time hampers the reflexes of the child. He is so used to swiping left and right, that he finds it difficult to write on paper. The fingers are stiff from all the gadget usage and it becomes difficult to hold a pencil and put pencil to paper.

We had drawing books to sketch in and paint pictures. Nowadays it is all done on an iPad!

Undeveloped Reading Habits

We used to read physical storybooks, turning each page with care and loving the smell of a new book. Nowadays there are audible books and book-reading applications on gadgets, all available at the click/swipe of a button. Hence the love of reading physical books is not inculcated in them.

Improper Sleep

We had timetables for school, play, homework, and sleep. Nowadays the children stay up till late at night playing video/online games and then are groggy and cranky in the mornings. The sleep patterns are disrupted leading to improper rest.

Lower Attention Span

We played games that made us attentive and creative like Memory or building blocks. There were board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, Chess, Business, Pick up sticks or even Name-Place-Animal-Thing on a rainy day. These were good for honing brain skills. Nowadays the concentration span of the children is limited and they are unimaginative, as they rely primarily, on the gadget, for answers, instead of utilising their brainpower.

Poor Physical Health

Physical games gave the must-required physical fitness required for good health. We used to run up and down the stairs avoiding using the lift. This was good for the muscles. Nowadays there is limited physical activity among children, as they are sitting in one place for hours on end, too engrossed with their gadgets, thereby weakening their muscles. This leads to obesity and other health-related ailments.

Weak Eyesight

Prolonged usage of screen time makes the eyes weak and children as young as two years old are wearing numbered spectacles, which have really heavy glasses. There is blurry vision, dry eyes, itchy eyes, high myopia, and even eye nerve damage, if not checked.  

We cannot solely blame the children as the parents are erring too. Some parents are mostly hard-pressed for time or are too stressed with their responsibilities to face the incessant chatter of their child, so they select the best option (according to them) and hand over a gadget or switch on the television to keep the child occupied and quiet.

There are hardly any activities that parents participate in with their children. No outings to the Museum, Zoo, or picnics. There are some weekend getaways, but, there too, the child is playing video games or watching television shows to pass his time.

Inferiority Complex

The child becomes a loner and is afraid to mingle with other children of his age. He develops an inferiority complex and shies away from speaking his mind. At times he appears frustrated or becomes silent, refusing to speak. There are mood swings at such a young age!     

Criminal Mind

The family that spends all their time “on screen time”, drifts apart gradually. The children are unable to express their feelings or confide their fears to their parents. They tend to search for their answers online, and some are led to such websites that do more harm as they are unfit for child viewership. Take the example of juvenile delinquents, who carry out dangerous stunts, petty thefts, child abuse, animal abuse, and fights, imitating some random show they viewed online, just for the heck of it! These unwanted desires cause more harm than good putting lives at risk and danger as well as giving them a criminal bent of mind.  The online classes conducted by schools have increased the exposure of children to the Internet, be it in urban or rural areas. Late Steve Jobs once stated that he does not permit his children the use gadgets, as he is aware of how addictive and harmful they are.   

“ A child using electronics is not learning to be a winner. He’s learning how to be a spectator instead of a doer, a follower rather than a leader”

Responsibilities Of Parents

The parents have a very important role to play in restricting the gadget time of their children. The children should be allowed minimal gadget exposure and that too under adult supervision. Online classes have to be permitted, as there is no other option. But for recreation, the children’s attention should be on real-time activities and not real-time activities.


Children should play and be exposed to activities like

  1. Visits to Libraries, museums, excursions, camps, hikes,
  2. Outdoor games like table tennis, badminton, cricket, volleyball, basketball, football, throw the ball, Kho-Kho, Kabaddi, hide and seek, and such games. The parents can teach the children some of the outdoor games they played in their childhood and re-live their childhood!
  3. Book reading and story-telling sessions,
  4. Enactment of plays in which both children and parents can participate
  5. Art and craft activities to draw out the child’s artistic talents,
  6. Debates, quizzes, treasure hunts, and such interactive activities
  7. Walks in the park/garden and play on the see-saw, slide, swing
  8. Playing on the sand at the seashore, collecting seashells
  9. Learning to play musical instruments
  10. Singing and dancing activities

This brings out the children’s inherent talent which may be a stepping stone for their future. But no child should be pressured to engage in any activity just for the sake of competition. Let the child do what he enjoys and feel relaxed.  

“The best gadget is the human brain”

Such recreational activities improve their mental and physical strength, enhance their imagination, make them creative, make them happy, make them laugh, make them relax, curb anxiety/depression, make them enjoy life’s simple pleasures, make them disciplined towards their homework/ packing their schoolbag/polishing their shoes/ maintaining good physical hygiene/ stop picking at their food/ eat healthy and live their life to the fullest as a child should. In addition, their body also becomes fitter and healthier.      

Gadget-Free Joy: Nurturing Real Connections

Most importantly children learn to interact amicably with their peers, family, and relatives in real time and not Facetime. The parents can explain the advantages and disadvantages of gadgets to the children.  I am sure the children will understand and curtail the use of gadgets to a minimum or maybe not at all! How cool is that!


Once the children grow up, they should feel nostalgic about their childhood and smile upon recalling their enjoyable memories. This can only be possible if they have limited or nil gadget usage for recreation. Those of us who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s are indeed fortunate as no online devils were lurking about (as computers were just slowly evolving in India) and we had a blast in our childhood days.

Prioritizing Child's Wellness

To sum up, parents need to prioritize the wellness of their children above all and ensure that they invest their time in their children to make them better and responsible human beings. After all, parents always have their children’s best interests at heart and want what is best for them. Any child displaying any symptoms of gadget addiction should immediately be referred to a specialist to minimize any permanent damage to his mind/body.  

Gadgets are the need of the hour today, but let us not burden our children with them now instead let them enjoy their childhood and make happy memories that will stay on with them forever.  

the aartery chronicles

Ms Rupal Sonpal

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