Passive generation may rise due to technologies and social media
SHAH ALAM - Children being exposed to gadgets and social media at the tender age of two could cause them to communicate less with others around them leading to a passive generation.
Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) Commissioner Professor Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal said children involved were not only less skilled in interacting, but their health could be affected.
“The children would not mix with others and their human relations would be lacking due to their constant distractions on smartphones.
“From a health perspective it would stunt their mental growth and their eyes could be damaged for using gadgets in dark areas for long durations,” she told Sinar.
26.8 million internet users in Malaysia including children spent at least two hours and 47 minutes a day or almost 20 hours a week to surf several social media platforms as quoted by 2023 Digital report by Meltwater.
Aziah added that some young parents lack the parental skills and knowledge of how to interact with children due to constantly being busy with work.
She said many feel that by preparing food, water and shelter for their children were enough when parents should be more involved in their kids education and should remind them about the taboos of using social media, besides providing affection for the child “Parents view that giving gadgets to their child would aid them in their housework or for them to perform other tasks. So the child would be exposed to gadgets, games and cartoons at a young age.
“This would cause them to be pent up in a room on their own, interact less with the public and refusing to go out and exercise,” she said.
However, Aziah said by not introducing any form of gadgets or the internet could also lead to negative risks forr children. This includes feeling inferior and left behind compared to their friends.
She said it would be worse when children learn to use gadgets and the internet from their friends instead of their parents.
“When parents don’t communicate with their child when they’re busy the children would learn from their friends making it harder to monitor and control their activities on social media,” she said.
Aziah viewed the roles of parents as important in providing early education to their children other than providing them with the understanding to use gadgets and social media safely.
She said parents must monitor gadget usage to avoid any unwanted incidents especially sexual crimes online involving children.
“The solution begins with parents, it does not matter what type of background, jobs or where they live, be it rural or in the city, they must provide early education at home especially religious education and teaching children what’s right or wrong.
“Digital education is important and how parents provide an effective explanation for children at a young age would ensure they are protected by anything malicious,” she said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) previously reported children spending too much time on digital devices can lead to headaches, neck pains, eye infections and a lack of nutrition.
They would also be exposed to cyber bullies, inappropriate content online and it could potentially destroy a family institution.