Updated: Feb 16
There’s a huge conversation around children (and people in general) needing to use their mobile devices less. The harmful effects of overusing technology are just now being studied by researchers... and the news is not good. Device addiction is real, and it's affecting every part of our lives. In Internet Addiction in Children and Adolescents: Risk Factors, Assessment, and Treatment, Young & Aberu (2017) revealed that there is plenty of evidence to support the correlation between mobile phone addiction and negative emotions; loneliness, anxiety, and depression levels were high in young mobile phone users. It must be noted that children who are spending a large amount of time on devices are not as physically active or focused on developing and maintaining in-person, healthy relationships with their family and friends. Furthermore, the overuse of smartphones can lead to musculoskeletal disorders, sleep issues, eye problems, as well as a multitude of other things still being studied.
I have witnessed technology take over little lives firsthand as a nanny, an older sister, and babysitter, but that is not to say I am anti-technology. Technology—the internet specifically—has ways of connecting us like never before. Cell phones can keep children safe with calling, texting, and location services available. Parents are worried about how much time their children are spending looking at screens, and that worry is not in vain. However, it's much easier said than done setting boundaries and limitations for children and teens, especially when it comes to their cell phones.
That's where I'm going to jump in and say, unironically, that there's an app for that! It may sound odd, but there is— Genius App Manager. Genius App Manager is a rather new parental control app disrupting the parental control industry that you can find in both the Google Play Store as well as Apple's App Store. I believe it can be a helpful buffer between the parent/guardian and the child, giving the parent/guardian space to explain why it is so important to be present in life and take some time away from screens. It addresses not only screen time limitations, but also earning it through being active. Genius App Manager allows the parent or guardian to disable certain apps until a child's step goal is met. According to the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, children between the ages of 6 and 14 should be taking between 10,000 and 15,000 steps per day. Instead of punishing children by completely taking away their devices, Genius App Manager uses a reward-based system in which children can earn screen time. I might test it out next time I go to the gym!
This is a reminder not only for the vulnerable children in our lives, but also us as adults. Every unnecessary minute we spend looking at our phones, swiping whatever way, liking pictures of other lives, we could be spending time being active, or with the people we love the most.