Smartphones: 5 Ways They Affect Children

Children looking at a smartphone

Smartphones are an integral part of our lives. But how do they affect a child’s developing brain? The following article explains the smartphone effects.

Smartphones have become our method of communication. More and more people are flocking to purchase the latest smartphones to keep up with upcoming trends. The increase in smartphone use among children is increasing each day. The children are seeking entertainment or finding ways of including education through technology.

As parents, you must control your child’s smartphone usage. Controlling their usage protects them from harmful websites and malware. Such websites may have negative impacts on their mental well-being or school performance.

Parents need to understand the effects of smartphones on their children. This article explains how smartphones affect a child’s cognitive development, social and emotional development, physical health, and education.

Smartphones and Cognitive Development

Cognitive development refers to the brain’s growth. Between the ages of 6-12 years, there is significant brain development occurring in children. Brain development then slows down between the ages of 12-18 years. Exposing your child to a smartphone while the brain develops can affect their future.

Attention Span and Focus

Receiving constant notifications on your phone can be distracting. They disrupt your brain’s ability to focus on tasks. Breaking that ability shortens your attention span over time. Children are more susceptible to these effects due to their developing brains.

Disable notifications on your child’s smartphone to prevent distractions. If possible, monitor their smartphones for any suspicious content.

Educational Apps and Content

Smartphones aren’t as dangerous as they seem. Some apps can add value to your child. These apps educate and enable classes to be online. For example, Duolingo is one of the best apps to learn a new language. Zoom allows online teaching to occur, especially during the pandemic.

Allowing your child to explore such content can be beneficial to their future.

Finding the Right Balance

Smartphones require a break every once in a while. Although, it may be difficult because some people work online most of the time. But for children, there should be balance to prevent addiction. Children are more likely to get addicted to using smartphones than adults. Therefore, as a parent, only allow 1-2 hours of screen time daily.

Smartphones and Social Development

Concerned parent between two children using smartphones

Smartphones can be distracting when talking to other people. Building meaningful relationships with others helps our overall health. Constant notifications disrupt your focus when talking to someone, shifting your focus to your phone.

Children can be affected by the distractions. Since their brains are developing, their attention span can be affected by smartphones. The more screen time, the more social anxiety develops. Encourage children to be in the moment when talking to their peers.

When children eat their meals while operating their smartphones, it can disturb family time. Parents have to ensure their children’s devices are not present while eating.

Smartphones and Physical Health

Excessive use of smartphones can be a potential health risk. Most people are sedentary while operating a smartphone. Sedentary lifestyles may lead to heart disease, stroke, etc. Constant smartphone use may lead to poor posture in children. The more people use their phones, the higher the risk.

Children should be active, especially as they grow. Exposure to smartphones may delay their physical growth due to sedentary lifestyles. In this digital age, people are moving less, which is concerning. Doing daily exercises at home can be beneficial for your long-term health.

Blue Light

Blue light emitted from smartphones affects our sleep quality. The rays from the smartphone send a message to the neurons in the eyes that it’s still daytime. The result is a disrupted natural sleep cycle, affecting your sleep.

Children need at least 8 hours of sleep daily for better health. Applying strategies like having a cut-off time to stop using smartphones can help improve sleep. Blue light blockers are good but not as effective as staying off the screen.

Education Benefits and Shortcomings

Children learning using a smartphone

Smartphones play a role in education for children. Apps like Zoom enable children to attend classes online regardless of geographical distance. Duolingo is an excellent app to learn any language. It’s simple to use and promotes brain health.

Online learning allows children to have a personalized learning experience. They may select topics of interest or when to attend an online class.

Possible Risks

Online learning carries a bit of risk despite being helpful. Too much screen time can lead to addiction and exploring other dirty websites. Children risk not getting enough sunlight when they stay on screens for too long.

Balancing traditional and digital learning is crucial for children. Each form has its unique way of teaching.

What to do as Parents

Children and parents using a smartphone

As parents, guardians, or teachers, you should set a good example for the children. Demonstrate the effects of prolonged smartphone use and ensure the children follow suit. Monitor their smartphone use to ensure they do not visit any dirty websites.

The Takeaway

Smartphone use is on the rise daily. More people are getting connected, opening up new opportunities. But, severe smartphone use can lead to harm. Children should be cautious when using such devices. Prolonged use can lead to lifestyle diseases, poor brain and social development, etc. Monitor their usage and time on screens.

At Wellness for Greatness, we create awareness for physical fitness among children. As a non-profit, our joy comes from helping children grow healthy and happy. Reach out to us for more information.


How do smartphones affect children?

Smartphones can lead to depression and anxiety among children. Social media is a cause of such conditions.

Do smartphones affect children’s brain development?

The disturbed brain activity could impair a child’s learning ability and cognitive development. Other behavioral problems include social anxiety, lack of self-control, etc.

How can smartphones help children?

Children can contact a friend or family when they’re in need. Online classes and tutoring are a great way for children to learn.