It’s common these days that children are accustomed to using electronic gadgets. More often than not, parents are seen letting their child watch videos on a smartphone while eating, or simply to kill time. It seems to be the ultimate weapon, able to deal with all situations.
In a survey in Japan by Benesse Educational Research & Development Institute, 20 per cent of children under one year of age watch videos or images on smartphones almost every day. This is six times the previous finding four years ago. It seems that “smartphone child-rearing” is on the rise because parents, their hands full, find it the easiest way to cope.
The research, conducted in early 2017, surveyed 3,400 mothers from Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama, who had a child aged between six months and six years old.
Among the 92.4 per cent of those women who possessed a smartphone, regarding the question “In a week, how often does your child view or use the smartphone at home?”, 20 per cent of parents with children under 12 months answered “almost every day”.
The percentages for the other ages who use smartphone almost every day are: 24.4 per cent of one-year-old children, 25.9 per cent of two-year-old children, and 23.2 per cent of 3-year-old children. These figures were all increased over the previous findings.
Regardless of frequency, it was revealed that 71.4 per cent of Japanese children used smartphones. As for when the phone is used, the highest percentage was for “while waiting outside”. “When the child wants to use the smartphone” scored 29.7 per cent, and “when the child is making noise” scored 23.5 per cent. “When travelling on cars and trains” scored 21.6 per cent, and “when the parent is busy with housework” scored 15.2 per cent.
Additionally, the survey also found that children are spending more time watching these screens. But is that necessarily a bad thing?
Said a person in charge of the research, “If you talk with your child while using the smartphone, you can deepen your relationship with your child, like when reading a picture book. It is important to think about the balance with physical experiences such as playing outside, and how to incorporate it into your lives.”
We cannot fully avoid the use of smartphone. Therefore, it is crucial to help your children balance out screen time and physical play time. Communication is important as well, such as teaching them the world is not just about using smartphone, lest your child becomes unable to differentiate between a magazine and a smart gadget like this:
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