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Should Parents Give Tech Gadgets to Their Kids as Toys?

Should Parents Give Tech Gadgets to Their Kids as Toys?

How techie do you want your children to be?

Should you be giving your child technological gadgets as toys? While there is no major study that argues to either side, many parents still wonder if this is right or wrong in terms of early childhood development. We live in a high-tech world and many want their children to be “tech savvy” from a young age while other parents are afraid that introduction to tech toys can lead to seclusion or a replacement of social interaction with the internet. Steve Jobs, for example, said that he knew the dangers of technology first hand and therefore did not want his children to have similar experiences, stating that he had not given them an iPad. Professor Mark Brown, a director of Massey’s National Center for Teaching and Learning, explained that a child must learn the use of computers and tablets, as it will be essential to develop technological proficiency for future jobs, (Technology Essential To Children’s Success, Professor Says, Massey University archives). Whatever our reasons are, it is fair to suggest that the children can either benefit or be harmed by playing with technology depending on the extent and length of that interaction.

Let’s look at some pros of giving tech gadgets as toys to kids:

Parents can get some needed peace and quiet

Today, there are technological toys and gadgets ranging from learning apps, alphabets and live aquariums, to robotic pets such as Ubooly, to Nabi 2 toddlers can literally chew on, tablets, iPads, you name it, it’s there. Parents of small children can use these tech gadgets when driving in a car in rush hour traffic. The pros are clear in some instances where the adults simply need silence and five minutes of peace. You probably are willing to hear Frozen‘s “Let It Go” for a thousandth time for as long as your children do not scream bloody murder strapped in their car seats.

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Helping Brain development and increasing learning activities

As mentioned earlier there are infinite amounts of useful applications a child can utilize to help his or her brain development, from SudokuKids to Sparky’s Adventures by Fit Brain to Pilo3, an interactive children’s story book in 3D. Open Solutions, for example, calls its Baby First Puzzle Farm a form of education, a “new and innovative” one for babies. There is an ocean of great information out there for a child to not only gain knowledge from but also to help the child become technologically savvy. Let’s face it, the child’s homework in high school and college at least will involve doing research on a computer and using the Internet, so why not start early so a child is ready to switch focus from one tech form into another.

Music, Books and Digital Interaction

Today a child can be exposed to classical music masterpieces and learning compositions with a push of a button on a phone or a tablet. Similarly, a child can use devices and tech toys such as Bluetooth enabled headphones,listening to audio books, and engaging in interactive touch books that are made for smaller children. There is a world of knowledge out there and listening to wide varieties of music can only enhance your child’s memorization. It has been found that children remember things better when they are set to musical beat (Sawyers & Hutson-Brandhagen, 2004). Moreover, exposure to music helps children develop rhythm, proliferate coordination, and helps them create another form of communication through music (Ferguson, 2005).

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 So what are the cons of tech gadgets as toys?

Too much technology can lead to distraction

There is no doubt that parents must supervise their children with the usage of technology. Prolonged exposure (hours and hours a day), and overload of techie fun can lead a child to disorientation, anxiety and emotional “numbness,” explained Mali Mann, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine. Furthermore, Mann says that technology relied on too much with children can lead them to technological addiction.

Cyber bullying and predators

A child is an easy target for sexual predators and on-line bullying. With cases well known about the dangers of the Internet world, parents must be careful, and be aware of their children’s on-line activities. Some parents are not even aware of this but did you know that almost 43 percent of children were bullied on line, 1 in 4 experienced it more than once according with DoSomething.org organization this year alone? If this does not scare you, just read the countless stories of parents losing their teenage children to suicide due to cyber bulling. Do you know if and where your child chats online? Could they fall into a trap of a sexual predator? Unfortunately yes, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations warned that it is through cyber chats that children are most likely to become the target of a predator. The FBI stated that children who spend large amounts of time in on-line chat rooms are at most risk, especially during the evening hours. The Bureau also warned that while parental controls are the tools parents should utilize, they should not rely on them alone, and should monitor a child’s chat room closely, i.e. it must be “heavily monitored” (FBI.org).

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Substituting people with “toys”, or social withdrawal

If a child spends significant amounts of time on video games for example, this robs from his or her play time and social time outside or even time with parents. There is no doubt that technology, while beneficial to children in terms of learning and social development, can also lead to negative social withdrawals if the times spent on the devices are not controlled by the parents. Many experts say that instead of more tech toys kids are in need of attention and actual good old playtime. Peter Gray, a psychologist and research professor at Boston College, noted that lack of playtime, or “play deprivation,” is bad for children as it may foster “suicide, narcissism, and loss of creativity.”

While there are no definitive conclusions reached or studies done on the effect of technological toys on kids being infinitely bad or great, one thing is most certain, that it is up to parents to draw the line in its usage. In the century we live in it is unarguably important to get a good grasp of technology. How early should we introduce it to children and should we as parents give children various technological gadgets as toys is a matter of balance at the end of the day. Technology is great for children provided they have a healthy balance of school, playtime, parents’ time, study time and so forth.

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So what can you do?

Research psychologist Dr. Larry Rosen suggested actively giving children time with you: playing video games with them, talking to them about using technology in healthy ways, encouraging breaks from usage of devices, and family time. The togetherness aspect will increase parental interaction. All these little things will give a parent more control and understanding of where their children’s interests lie in technology and which gadgets should be altered or removed, revisited or revised. The bottom line is, today we cannot afford to ignore the power of technology over our lives, and therefore, we must not overlook its effect on our children.

Featured photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/7QBsAh via flic.kr

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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