Effects Of Smartphone On Children

The dark sides of smartphone on the development stages of our little ones


4/26/20236 min read

silver Android smartphone
silver Android smartphone

While I am not an enthusiastic tech lover, I can't deny the immense convenience that smartphones have brought to my life.

It's hard to imagine how I managed before their invention.

However, at one point in my life, I had become overly reliant on my phone.

I was spending up to 12 hours a day staring at its screen, which has affected my eyesight. Despite this, I didn't seem to care enough to make a change.

What's worse is that I had been neglecting my kids (not physically but attention wise) while glued to my phone, which I'm ashamed of.

I let them play by themselves while I mindlessly scrolled through social media.

I often wondered how much better our eldest would have developed academically if I focused solely on her development instead of wasting the hours on my phone.

My daughters, who are now six and three, have been begging for their own smartphones.

I've been hesitant to give them one, claiming that they're too young and that it's not good for them.

But if I'm being honest, I don't have any good reasons to deny them since I'm always on my phone.

This made me question the potential impact of smartphones on their development and well-being.

While these devices have certainly made our lives easier, it's crucial to consider their effects on children, especially during different stages of their development.

In this article, we'll delve deeper into the various ways that smartphones can affect children and explore the different stages of child development where these effects may be more pronounced.

child sitting on floor and playing with xylophone toy
child sitting on floor and playing with xylophone toy

Effects on Infants and Toddlers

It turns out that American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that our little ones should avoid screen time altogether.

That's right, folks. If your little one is still in diapers, they should be getting their kicks elsewhere.

Here’s several reasons for it.

For starters, the blue light that screens emit can really mess with their sleep.

And we all know that when babies don't get enough sleep, nobody is happy.

Plus, all that screen time can interfere with the development of important cognitive skills like attention, memory, and problem-solving.

This can lead to sleep disturbances and interfere with the development of the brain's sleep architecture, which is critical for healthy brain development.

Screens can also interfere with the development of important cognitive skills like attention, memory, and problem-solving.

Overstimulation from screens can cause cognitive overload and impede the development of these skills.

Imagine if you were a baby and all you did was stare at a screen all day.

You wouldn't be able to develop those crucial cognitive skills that will help you navigate the world. And let's not forget about language development.

We learn language through interaction and conversation with other people, not through a screen.

Worst of all, they may even be addicted to your smart devices.

Effects on Preschoolers

Preschoolers, those aged between 2-5 years old, are at a critical stage of development and are the most vulnerable to the effects of smart devices.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that preschoolers should have no more than one hour of screen time per day, as excessive screen time can lead to various problems.

These problems can range from attention issues to poor academic performance, as well as delays in language and social development.

In fact, a study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that children who had more than two hours of screen time per day had poorer cognitive development than those who had less screen time.

So, if we want our little ones to grow up to be super geniuses, it might be best to limit their screen time now.

This is concerning because preschool is an important time for children to develop the necessary skills for success in later life, including communication, socialization, and learning.

So, while it may be tempting to let them spend hours on their tablets, it's worth considering the long-term impact it may have on their development.

After all, who wants your child to become a socially-awkward, vocabulary-limited, and mathematically-challenged 5-year-old?

Not me!

Effects on School-Age Children

At 6-12, kids are developing important cognitive, social, and emotional skills. But unfortunately, excessive screen time can impede their progress in these areas.

For starters, too much screen time can really take a toll on academic performance.

Studies have shown that children who spend more than two hours per day on screens are more likely to have poor academic performance than those who have less screen time.

So if you want your kids to ace their exams, it might be time to cut down on their screen time.

Plus, excessive screen time can lead to reduced physical activity, which is not good for growing bodies.

It's important for children to get regular exercise in order to stay healthy and promote the development of strong bones and muscles.

So, get those kids up and moving!

Another downside of excessive screen time is that it can interfere with the development of social skills.

Children who spend too much time on screens may miss out on important social interactions and opportunities to develop important social skills like communication, empathy, and cooperation.

So, let's make sure our kids are getting some face-to-face time with their friends and family too.

Effects on Adolescents

Ah, teenagers and their smartphones. It seems like they’re always glued to those screens, doesn’t it?

But unfortunately, excessive screen time can have some pretty serious consequences for their mental and physical health.

According to a survey by Common Sense Media, nearly all teenagers in the US have access to a smartphone, and almost half of them are online almost constantly.

That’s a lot of time spent staring at a screen!

And that screen time can lead to some not-so-great outcomes.

Studies have found that teenagers who spend more than two hours a day on their devices are more likely to suffer from poor mental health, including depression and anxiety.

Plus, all that time spent scrolling through Instagram or TikTok can also interfere with their sleep and reduce their physical activity.

And lastly, let's talk about sleep. Too much screen time can mess with the body's production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles.

And when sleep is disrupted, it can lead to mood swings, behavioral issues, and even cognitive problems.

So, if you want your kids to sleep like a baby (without actually acting like one), it's important to limit their screen time.


Well folks, there you have it - the impact of smart devices on our children. It seems like our love for screens has a darker side after all!

But don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. We can still enjoy the benefits of technology while ensuring that our little ones aren't negatively affected.

So let's limit our children's screen time, encourage physical activity, and promote face-to-face social interactions. It might be tough, but it's worth it for the sake of our kids' development.

And who knows, maybe we'll even rediscover some old-fashioned fun in the process!


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  • Common Sense Media. (2019). The effects of screen time on children. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/effects-of-screen-time-on-kids

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