When most people hear the word addiction, they think narcotics, sex, gambling and outright vices.
However, addiction is basically compulsive engagement in an activity for rewarding stimuli despite the adverse consequences.
All addictions work the same way. Cocaine works by flooding your brain’s pleasure centres with dopamine, a happy hormone and stimulating a sense of false euphoria. When you pick up your phone to watch IG videos 100 times a day, you’re stimulating the same reaction.
Smartphones aren’t outrightly harmful like narcotics (although they emit radioactive energy that may be harmful in the long run), but for toddlers, they are easily destroyed.
Most parents are in the habit of giving their little children smartphones to keep them busy or occupied. You’re training that child in such a way that when you take away the phone, they spiral into withdrawal and begin to lash out.
According to top addiction expert and researcher Mandy Salagri, giving your child a smartphone is like “giving the a gram of coke.”
I’m a digital person and I love tech gadgets. I’m not against children using tech devices but you see smartphones can be really destructive parenting.
I know this because I’m guilty of it.
When my son was about a year and six months old, I started giving him my phone to keep him distracted when I was busy. He was always crawling all over me, seeking attention and it really slowed me down. He became so addicted to phones that by the time he was two, uncle will not eat or poop or do anything without a smartphone.
He’d download all the games in the world and play all day long. I guess he was watching me the few times I used the phone to go to play-store Games section to download ABCD games for him (and he never liked those ones). Sometimes I’ll be hearing gunshots coming to the phone. Na the kind violent game he dey play. I remember the day my father-in-law came over unannounced to see his grandson. He saw this boy sitting on his pottie, pooping while totally engrossed in his father’s phone. Grandpa had to scream his name several times before he looked up.
You need to see the scolding my husband and I received that day for being irresponsible parents grin
Another incident was when we went to my friend’s child dedication. I brought rice and tried to feed my son but he refused to eat because he was too engrossed in the game he was playing. I took the phone from him and this Uncle launched into a terrible tantrum and seriously embarrassed me there. I had to kuku give it back to him.
Sometimes, he’ll go to school and bring back his lunch untouched because there was no phone to press while eating.
When he turned 3, we decided enough was enough. We stopped giving him phones entirely and he only got to use his kiddies tablet a couple of hours a day. The first time I removed a phone from his hand, he cried for hours and refused to eat. I hardened my heart and ignored him. He later came by himself and asked for the food.
He gradually began to get the idea and even his dad stopped giving him phones. He began to read all the children’s books we’d been buying for him and he watched cartoons more. After about six months, uncle forgot all about phones and turned over a new leaf.
He’s four now and is growing into a responsible kid. He loves storybooks and can read a book 50 times, memorizing all the words before moving on to another.
I turned my son into a brat because I was raising him with the smartphone distraction strategy. It’s more destructive than it may seem. The way little children use phones these days eh, e dey fear me. My friend caught her 7-year-old girl watching p*rn the other day. We no even fit talk sef.
Smartphones won’t help your toddlers. Buy them books and kids educational tablets instead. Yes, kids in the modern world are inventing stuff and being innovative because of early exposure to technology, but there are now modern devices that make these things suitable for kids. Even the most renowned tech gurus in the world will restrict their children’s internet access and phone usage. A smartphone is not what will make your child become an innovative tech genius. Buy them used, old computers and let them learn how to dismantle and re-assemble. Show them videos of tech guys building stuff on YouTube. Don’t give them phones to go and start learning how to snap the perfect snap chat selfies at age 5.
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