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National Kindergarten Day 2024: no phone or tablet

Read what impact smartphones and tablets are having on the development of preschoolers.

Emilia Moskal - AuthorAuthorEmilia Moskal
Emilia Moskal - Author
AuthorEmilia Moskal
Natu.Care Editor

Emilia Moskal specialises in medical and psychological texts, including content for medical entities. She is a fan of simple language and reader-friendly communication. At Natu.Care, she writes educational articles.

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National Kindergarten Day 2024: no phone or tablet
29 April, 2024
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A small glass screen that responds to touch. A seemingly ordinary glass screen, but it has a mesmerising effect on everyone. Especially children.

Children are capable of being lost for a few hours with their nose in the phone. Worse if they also forfeit their childhood and, according to the researchers, their ability to develop properly.

They are also able to forfeit their childhood and, according to the researchers, their ability to develop properly.

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From this article you will learn:

  • How phones and tablets affect pre-school children.
  • How much time several year olds can spend with mobile devices.
  • How mobile devices can affect children.
  • What excessive smartphone and tablet use can result in.
  • What are the rules of the game?
  • What are the rules for safe use of mobile devices and how to keep them secure.
  • .

See also:

What the science says

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According to research conducted by the Nobody's Children Foundation, as many as 40% of two-year-olds and younger (sic!) children in Poland use a smartphone or tabletand. In contrast, in a recent report commissioned by the Office of Electronic Communications for 2022, almost 10% of parents admitted to giving their child their own mobile phone before the age of six . In the 2021 NASK report, this was declared by 5.2% of parents .

Does this mean that we are more and more willing to give away our phones to children every year? As the surveys were carried out by other parties, may have differed in the selection and size of the representative sample, as well as in the methodology, no firm conclusions can be drawn. However, the trend may be of concern.

Although it may seem that a tablet or phone is a toy like any other, some scientists are of a different opinion. During the first few years of life, the human body develops most intensively - this includes the brain and the senses (such as the sense of balance)and.

At the end of the second and the beginning of the third year of life, a child has the most neuronal connections in his or her life. In the following years it will become apparent which of these will remain and which will atrophy. Of course, the most important connections, i.e. those most supported by the stimuli coming from the environmentand.

will become established.

If a child's world is confined to a small glass screen, neuronal pathways dedicated to the stimuli coming from the screen will become fixed in their brain. An extension of this logic may be the conclusion that those responsible for agility, agility, creativity, social skills may disappear...

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Doesn't sound very good, does it?

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In order for the preschooler's brain to develop properly, it needs stimuli and information touching all its senses. Kicking a ball, stacking blocks, touching the grass or a tree trunk, but also interacting with family members and peers shape the central nervous system, allowing the child to reach his or her full potentialand.

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Dangers, or a word about addiction

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Children learn much faster than adults and... fall into addiction much faster. This is why it is so important to establish and consistently adhere to rules for tablet and phone use from an early age.

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Important

Experts say that children up to the age of two should not use mobile devices, the computer or television at all. For slightly older preschoolers, this time should be heavily restricted and play should be under parental supervisionand.

Using tablets and smartphones for too long and too often can result in concentration disorders. There is constantly something going on on the small screen, and most of the time you don't need to focus on it at all. So it's not surprising that when a task needs to be completed that requires concentration, the child struggles to do soand.

Prolonged exposure to blue light, which is emitted by mobile device screens, disrupts sleep and compromises sleep quality. What's more, some children also reach for their phone at night - "because their parents can't see" or out of fear of missing something on social media. Without a healthy dose of sleep, the body doesn't have a chance to fully recover, which can have further health consequencesand.

Spending time on the phone doesn't leave much of it for socialising either. This may sound funny in the context of pre-school children, but this is when social skills are built. Children need socialisation, i.e. other children and people. Definitely not just the ones smiling on TikTok.

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This virtual alienation can, in the long term, lead to deterioration of quality of life the child and even the onset of depressive symptoms.

When addicted, levels of aggression also increase - especially when trying to restrict a child's stimulant. Children of several years of age do not control their emotions, so parents may have to deal with their tantrums or hysterical attacks.

But the psychological and behavioural consequences of children abusing smartphones and tablets are not all. Researchers also point to an increased risk of obesity, which is associated with reduced physical activity.

The risk of obesity is also increased.

Another problem is eating problems. Snacking while watching a cartoon or playing a game goes virtually unnoticed. This is probably why as many as 25% of parents, use their phone and tablet when giving their children foodand.

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Spending a lot of time in front of TV, tablets and smartphones also influences children's delayed speech development, reduced vocabulary and lower intellectual performance.
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Jagoda Turowska.

Jagoda TurowskaPsychologist and social skills trainer

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It is increasingly common to find children who have spent the first 2 years of their lives in front of the television. And unfortunately, in some of these situations, it turns out that electronics have disrupted the child's development to such an extent that their functioning can easily be mistaken for autism, adds psychologist.

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Did you know that...

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A 2019 study found that preschoolers using smartphones for more than two hours a day had a higher risk of ADHDand.

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Can a preschooler safely use a smartphone?

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In light of the above, is there a safe way to introduce a young person to technology? After all, you can't get away from it anyway... The tablet and phone are not the enemy. They can be used in play, but it must be done carefully, with forethought and when the child is at least two years old.

How to make a young child familiar with technology.

How to make the time spent with smartphones and tablets worthwhile and, above all, safe? Here are some rules:

  • Do not use the phone and tablet as a reward. Rewarding your child with the opportunity to use these devices will build up the child's belief that they are special and valuable.
  • Provide a safe and secure environment.
  • Make sure your child does not stare at a small screen for more than 15 minutes at a time. In total, a preschooler should not spend more than an hour a day in front of a smartphone - the shorter, the better.
  • Be sure that your child does not spend more than an hour at a smartphone.
  • Preferably, the youngest should not use mobile devices every day. A colouring book or a book can be just as entertaining.
  • Help your child maintain sleep hygiene and don't give them a phone or tablet for at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Match stories, games and apps to your preschooler's developmental stage. Ideally, choose content that will be of value, such as object matching games and simple logic puzzles.
  • .
  • Don't leave your preschooler with a smartphone alone. Especially if the device has internet access. It will be easier for you to control what your child is watching. You can also talk to him/her about what he/she is seeing.
  • .

And one more important thing: Don't go overboard. Everyone needs a moment to themselves and a rest sometimes. Statistics say that for 60% of parents, handing their child a phone or tablet is a moment of respiteand. The world won't come crashing down if you allow one more episode of your favourite cartoon.

Securing mobile devices

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Even if you keep an eye on your child while using mobile devices, it's a good idea to enable parental protection mode on them. You can find it in every operating system - in the settings.

Parental protection mode will allow you to:

  • set time limits for internet use,
  • .
  • filter dangerous content,
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  • block online shopping,
  • .
  • monitor your child's online activity,
  • .

To prevent snatching your phone when it has inadvertently been left in your child's sight, set a security password. This way you can limit excessive playing of games that do not require internet access. And you can avoid the "bscuybiunisuekkuehicsend" text messages sent by little fingers to your boss (which can be different).

And if the above-mentioned methods are not enough, you can use the phone as a security tool.

And if the above ways don't seem enough for you, you can download an app for parents mProtection, developed by the National Research Institute NASK - an expert in cyber-safety among children and young people.

Development by... phone?

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It's possible! Instead of the 324th session of your favourite episode of Dog Patrol, offer your child simple but developing games and apps. With these, your preschooler can learn about animals, solve puzzles or learn languages.

They are a great way to get to know your child.

Valuable games can be found in the Safe Mobile Apps Catalogue on the Networkers website. We found a few more:

  • Kahoot! Numbers by DragonBox - helps children understand numbers. Can be a great introduction to learning maths.
  • .
  • Monkey Stories: Books & Reading - compliant with the standards of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, it is used to learn English through play.
  • Tinybop, The Human Body - enables you to see how the human body works. Anatomy given in an interesting, simple and accessible format for children.
  • .

Summary

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  • Children up to the age of two should not spend time in front of a TV, computer, tablet or smartphone.
  • The use of mobile phones is a major concern.
  • The overuse of mobile devices by children a few years old can interfere with their normal development, including brain development.
  • .
  • The maximum combined use of a phone and tablet by preschoolers is about one hour per day. At any one time, a child should not stare at a screen for more than 15 minutes.
  • .
  • Mobile device addiction can affect even the youngest children and has negative developmental, behavioural and health consequences.
  • In order for your child to use smartphones and tablets safely, control the time they spend with these devices and the content they share.
  • Secure mobile devices with a password and enable parental mode.
  • .
  • On the virtual app market, there are developing proposals aimed at the youngest. You can reach for them and make the time spent in front of the small screen more valuable.
  • .

FAQ

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. Can a 5 year old play on his/her phone.

Yes, one form of entertainment for a five-year-old child can be games installed on a smartphone. It is best to choose ones that will introduce the preschooler to the basics of mathematics or serve as an introduction to learning a foreign language. However, it is important to ensure that the child does not spend more than an hour a day playing, and 15 minutes at a time.

. How does the phone affect a child's brain?

The telephone can potentially affect a child's brain in a variety of ways. Possible effects include an increase in aggressive behaviour, reduced academic performance and attention problems in children. It is important for parents to monitor and regulate their child's phone use to prevent these negative effects.

. Why children are not allowed to use the phone?.

Children under the age of two should not use the phone as it can disrupt the development of neuronal connections in the brain. Excessive time spent in front of a screen, including phone use, also has a negative impact on older children. Studies have shown that preschoolers who spend too much time in front of a screen have problems with attention and focus.

. How to recognise a child's gaming addiction.

Symptoms of a child's addiction to games may include: constantly thinking and talking about the game when not playing it, neglecting his or her own appearance, showing signs of irritability, anxiety or anger when forced to stop playing, and limiting other activities in favour of this form of entertainment.

How to identify a child's addiction to games?
. How much time can a child spend in front of a screen?.

How much time a child can spend in front of a screen depends on their age. For 3-4 year old children, phone and tablet play time is best limited to 30 minutes a day. It is assumed that for pre-school children, the maximum time spent using mobile devices should not exceed one hour per day.

. What causes excessive phone use?.

Excessive phone use can contribute to a loss of interest in other activities and socialising. It can also cause sleep problems, postural defects, eye problems and promote obesity. This results in a noticeable decrease in quality of life.

. At what age can a child be given a phone?

A phone should not be given to children until at least the age of two. In fact, the later it is, the better. If you're wondering what age is appropriate to give your child their first own phone, it's best to consider whether they are mature enough to use it responsibly.

Many people link the purchase of a phone for a child to when they start to stay at home on their own or go to school and out in the yard on their own.

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Resources

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. See all.

Ali, A. H., Salman, M. D., Saleh, R., Fayadh, E. N., Al-Hameed, S. abd, Falah, H., Thamer, R., saad, M., & Ali, A. H. (2019). The effect of the electronic devices on children. Journal of Physics: Conference Series1178(1), 012002. https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1178/1/012002

Almuaigel, D., Alanazi, A., Almuaigel, M., Alshamrani, F., AlSheikh, M., Almuhana, N., Zeeshan, M., Alshurem, M., Alshammari, A., & Mansi, K. (2021). Impact of Technology Use on Behavior and Sleep Scores in Preschool Children in Saudi Arabia. Frontiers in Psychiatry12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.649095

Antar, R. (2019). Exploring the Use of Electronic Media in Young Children's Lives and its Effects on Brain Development. Journal of Early Childhood Education Research8(1), Article 1.

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aplesset. (2019, August 8). What Does Too Much Screen Time Do to Kids' Brains? NewYork-Presbyterian. https://healthmatters.nyp.org/what-does-too-much-screen-time-do-to-childrens-brains/

Bąk, A. (n.d.). Use of mobile devices by young children in Poland.

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Impact of Technology on Kids Today and Tomorrow. (n.d.). Western Governors University. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.wgu.edu/blog/impact-technology-kids-today-tomorrow1910.html

NASK. (n.d.). NASTOLATE RESEARCH REPORT 3.0 (2021). NASK. Retrieved 15 March 2023, from https://www.nask.pl/pl/raporty/raporty/4295,RAPORT-Z-BADAN-NASTOLATKI-30-2021.html

Reid Chassiakos, Y. (Linda), Radesky, J., Christakis, D., Moreno, M. A., Cross, C., COUNCIL ON COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA, Hill, D., Ameenuddin, N., Hutchinson, J., Levine, A., Boyd, R., Mendelson, R., & Swanson, W. S. (2016). Children and Adolescents and Digital Media. Pediatrics138(5), e20162593. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2016-2593

Ricci, R. C., de Paulo, A. S. C., de Freitas, A. K. P. B., Ribeiro, I. C., Pires, L. S. A., Facina, M. E. L., Cabral, M. B., Parduci, N. V., Spegiorin, R. C., Bogado, S. S. G., Chociay, S., Carachesti, T. N., & Larroque, M. M. (n.d.). Impacts of technology on children's health: A systematic review. Revista Paulista de Pediatria41, e2020504. https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-0462/2023/41/2020504

Rocha, B., & Nunes, C. (2020). Benefits and damages of the use of touchscreen devices for the development and behavior of children under 5 years old-A systematic review. Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica33(1), 24. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41155-020-00163-8

Sagr, A. N. A., & Sagr, N. A. A. (2020). The effect of electronics on the growth and development of young children:A Narrative Review. Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries14(1), Article 1. https://www.jhidc.org/index.php/jhidc/article/view/250

The Negative Effects of Technology on Children | NU. (2021, May 13). National University. https://www.nu.edu/blog/negative-effects-of-technology-on-children-what-can-you-do/

Zain, Z. M., Jasmani, F. N. N., Haris, N. H., & Nurudin, S. M. (2022). Gadgets and Their Impact on Child Development. Proceedings82(1), Article 1. https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2022082006

Analysis of the functioning of the telecommunications services market in Poland and assessment of consumer preferences. 2022. Survey of children and parents https://cik.uke.gov.pl/gfx/cik/userfiles/_public/badania_dzieci_i_rodzicow_2022.pdf

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Meet the team
Emilia Moskal - Author

Natu.Care Editor

Emilia Moskal specialises in medical and psychological texts, including content for medical entities. She is a fan of simple language and reader-friendly communication. At Natu.Care, she writes educational articles.

Berry Turowska - Reviewed by

Psychologist

Verified by an expert

Psychologist and social skills trainer. She provides solution-focused therapy.

Bartholomew Turczynski - Edited by

Editor-in-Chief

Bartłomiej Turczyński is the editor-in-chief of Natu.Care. He is responsible for the quality of the content created on Natu.Care, among others, and ensures that all articles are based on sound scientific research and consulted with industry specialists.

Nina Wawryszuk - Fact-checking

Natu.Care Editor

Nina Wawryszuk specialises in sports supplementation, strength training and psychosomatics. On a daily basis, in addition to writing articles for Natu.Care, as a personal trainer she helps athletes improve their performance through training, diet and supplementation.

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