Children and technology: the problems of this relationship

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Dr. Eduardo Jorge Custódio says “We should not stop children from being in contact with technology after the age of two, but we should know that everything is not good,” said Dr. Eduardo Jorge Custódio.

Seeing children of different ages using electronic devices during family lunches, outdoor walks, among other activities, has become a common occurrence. And, despite some fears among parents, doctors and experts, the relationship between children and technology is developing at a rapid pace.

Investigation TIC Kids Online Brasil in 2023who personally interviewed 2,704 families with children and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 17 years throughout Brazil, noted that 24% of adolescents received their first access to the Internet during childhood ( before the age of 6 years) – increased by 13% compared to 2015. According to those Dr. Eduardo Jorge Custódio, pediatric neurologist and member of the Working Group on Health in the Digital Era of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP), The data is worrying, because children should not have access to any type of screen before the age of two.

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“We should not stop children from being in contact with technology after the age of two, but we should know that anything past that is bad. And there is no doubt that early use causes damage in the future and hinders the child’s knowledge and social development”, says Custódio.

In the book “#MaisSaúde #MenosTelas”, updated in 2021, the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics says that the level of development of children is limited by the excessive use of electronic devices: “The influence of the screen or experimenting with substances, such as how video games become a quick fix to deal with stress and emotional difficulties, leading to addictions that children and young people are not yet educated.”

What is the ideal screen time for any age?

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1- Do not expose children under 2 years to the screen (not even past).

However, in a society that is increasingly connected through online behavior, solving this problem is not an easy task. Eduardo Custódio says “parents, despite the problems in everyday life, must set an example and give their children another chance”. “How do you tell a child that they can’t spend the day on their phone if their father or mother, whenever possible, spends the day on their cell phone?”, he added.

Digital learning can be a way out

Thais Rugolo, lawyer specializing in children’s rights at Instituto Alana, that one of the best ways to face the problems surrounding the connection between children and technology is education and discussion. “Children need to be heard, parents need to talk to their children. If we don’t listen to the children, we will not know how to fix the dangerous situation and act responsibly. “

Rugolo mentions the inconsistency in relation to the widely used term “digital natives”: “A child does not have the basic ability or intelligence to translate like a person old. Saying that a child knows more than an adult about technology is dangerous, because you are putting a negative responsibility on a serious responsibility.”

See other recommendations from the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics:

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Provide other ways to use the equipment, such as sports and exercise outdoors or in contact with nature.

Skill creation

As in the previous report, the TIC Kids Online Brasil 2023 also investigated the perceptions of children and young people about the digital skills they believe they have. According to the answers, 76% of the interviewees reported that it is “true” or “true” that they know how to choose the right words to find something on the internet.

And young people are not the only ones who face online risks: 80% of those interviewed also claimed that they use the digital ecosystem to do schoolwork and research topics such as health clean drinking, healthy eating and sports.

“We also need to teach young users about the great potential in digital areas. After all, technology also allows for a lot of learning, when used well”, concludes Thai language.

Main tools and platforms:

According to research, 88% of the Brazilian population between the ages of 9 and 17 reported holding information on social networks. Between 15 and 17 years, the proportion is 99%.

O Instagram (36%) is the platform most used by internet users aged 9 to 17, compared to YouTube (29%); TikTok (27%) e Facebook (two%). In the age group of 9 to 10 years and 11 to 12 years, the YouTube made with 42% and 44%, respectively.

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