Children, mobile and tablets

Reflections as a pediatrician and father of the role of phones and tablets in the lives of children. Common health problems. Although not everything is negative.

What I will present here is a mixture of my experience as a parent, as a pediatrician and a reflection from common sense than from the base of scientific studies. Therefore as debatable as they come. In fact what I hope is to generate debate.

EducationIf you are reading this article it is because you have an Internet connection. Possibly in your hand right now. According to my statistics over 70% of visitors to this page come through mobile or tablet. And if you decided to read it is likely in your case because you have it. And it is also likely to have one or more children.

That is, the combination Kids, Tablet and Mobile is present in your home.
And well, what do we do? Do we get rid of the child, mobile and tablet? Or do we let us, while mobile and tablet are not going to find?

Do you remember the TV? I almost did not! The reality is that in my life there are almost no time for her. But there was a time when I could not imagine my life without “TV”. Those who are now parents belong to the first generation of children who grew up with TV at home.

Do you remember what they said to us when we were kids about TV?

I make a summary of what I can remember:

  • We’re going to be blind to see so much TV.
  • That pileup emits radiation going to finish all fatal (cancer, you will lose your hair …)
  • We’re going to be back idiots all day watching the “idiot box.”
  • When you are older you’re not going to be able to get up from the chair.

And do you remember who was more belligerent in these statements? In my case, my grandparents.

What I conclude from this?

All change is difficult to assimilate by the generation that lives it as such. As in the time of our grandparents were sincerely concerned about the negative effect that TV could exercise on our physical and mental health, today our parents are most concerned about the effect of mobile phones and tablets can have on the health of their grandchildren.

But what about the parents?

Our parents and our TV with mobile and tablets have a dual position. On the one hand it is not that we feel completely comfortable watching our children would spend hours hooked to the “pots”.

But realistically, they are sometimes a very effective method …

Every child than before or after your need for stimulation capacity of parents to provide them. It has been and always will. Children have their life. Parents of their children and their own. And it goes without saying that living two lives into one is very complicated.

Having a resource so close at hand that provides stimuli is an “insuperable temptation.”

Surely you know the “Mobile Moment”:

Family reunion, all children arming mess, as it is required and one point are already among exhausted, pissed, bored … Unbearable! Parents look, cast their pockets hand and whisper conspiratorially. “Mobile moment?”.

They all nod, take out their phones, lights, looking for game or your favorite rod and deliver them to their children video.

A minute later it has become a dead silence. Calm absolute!

Phones and Tablets are something to integrate into our lives for Children

A part of this much criticized but real part as life itself: Digital devices will continue as present in the lives of our children as it has been in our television. Looked aseptically are another source of stimuli and information. Nothing more, nothing less.

As with anything else in life that mitigates a human need, each person plays and ends defining a balance in giving greater or lesser importance to this element from all others present in your life.

Sources of satisfaction of a need is in itself a solution and a danger. Because humans have a tendency to move sometimes very extreme form.

As in any other aspect of education, the aim should be to provide a site that is compatible with the other elements of a balanced life. And here comes the common sense. A while mobile or tablet need not be a problem if no limits in excess of other activities are also necessary, as the offline game, creativity, direct interpersonal relationships, physical activity, the study …

In extreme cases it can interfere with all of them and that is when we must consider seriously that there is a problem and you need to put solution. We would then be talking about addiction. But here it complicated, as in any addiction is to limit access to what generates it. The child will use all the resources at its disposal to achieve “dose” and increase it gradually. As in any other aspect of education parents we act as regulators of trends that the child successfully fails modular.

In another approach, it should be clear that they will continue in the lives of our children almost certainly. And in fact they are going to be a basic tool the rest of his life. Our children use them in an almost innate. Just look at the ease with which they do very young. To know them and learn to do it in a balanced way will be very important for their future. So do not give them access to what age …?

But what worries is it true that the phones and tablets can harm children? – Radiation

Any connected digital device does through radiation. But depending on the type of waves can be classified radiation in “ionizing” and “non-ionizing”. What does this mean? Ionizing radiation that can alter the structure of matter that crosses the resulting ions. These radiations are those that can alter for example the DNA in our cells making act incorrectly (for example a cancer causing). The radiation used to connect digital devices are “non-ionizing”. That is, in theory are not able to produce something.

But I say in theory. Because there are no pure radiation emitters. Any object or electronic device emits radiation in a pure frequency. Although between the frequencies and ionizing want to use a sufficient margin to make it very unlikely that a connected device emitting ionizing radiation, occasionally, who can tell? In theory the longer you use more likely one is occasionally subjected to a not so harmless radiation.

What is clear is that, at least in the cities we live awash in a sea of ​​”non-ionizing” radiation we use to communicate. Since radio waves and television signals via cell phone and Bluetooth wireless networks. Whereby in practice the difference between one or the use is not limited.

Many studies that try to see how this can affect human health. And now there is no clear conclusion. Whereby each one would take as you prefer.


The problem here is the accommodation. Our eyes are designed to work in an environment where the objects are at different distances. Bringing to their everyday normal is constantly changing focus. But when we use a long time a screen focus at a fixed distance.

That is why when we’re looking at a screen too long and we lose visual acuity away for a while.

Doing it regularly can, in theory, favor the appearance of eyestrain. Some people own more than 40-50 years can appear before if display devices are used for too many hours a day. It is a loss of elasticity of the lens which makes it hard to focus at close range.


This is one of the areas where we really see harmful effects of mobile phones and tablets in children.

To use one of these devices is necessary to hold them in front of the visual field. This means keeping the arms and hands in a fixed posture during the time that we are using.

Every time I see more:

  • Back pain in children using the tablets much more mobile than that weigh more.. The cause is a spasm of the muscles that hold the shoulder in position necessary to have it in front of our face.
  • Dolores hand. In most of the left hand, which is used to hold the mobile phone screen while typing right.
  • Headaches When abused these poses the constant contraction of the neck muscles hinders the arrival of blood through the arteries of the neck, so the head is hurting complaint.

Harmful content

Obviously a source of information as accessible as a device connected to the Internet can provide content of many types. And not all are suitable for any age. So something important is to watch what children can access on the Internet. Almost all these devices have in your setup option “parental control”. But are automatic filters that can not guarantee 100% that the contents are appropriate. It’s the least you should use. But you do not relieve that controls what your child access to them.

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