Shelba Hagler – Effects of Excessive Technology on Children

Shelba Grace Hagler

Ms. Grace Poynter

English 102-108

24 March 2024


The Negative Effects of the Excessive Use of Technology on Children


Technology is one of the world’s most useful tools, but it is becoming more of a problem because children are exposed to the impacts caused by the overuse of technology. The excessive use of technology negatively affects our children, yet there are ways we can intervene. I am passionate about this issue because I have always wanted to be a teacher. I will have to work and deal with these problems every day when I am teaching. We can look in real time to see how negatively the overuse of technology influences the next generation of students. I hesitate to use the term “iPad kid,” but it is true that students all around the globe have become too dependent on-screen time. Issues with mental health are rising in children because of this addiction to screen based devices. Basic cognitive systems like attention spans are beginning to decline. Family dynamics and relationships are also changing. As the older generation that these children will look up to, we should care about this issue to make a change for younger generations. Additionally, I have hope that we can prevent the overuse of technology for all ages. Excessive use of technology has made detrimental impacts on children in today’s world, including mental health issues, concerns with cognitive function, and challenges in family relationships. However, studies show there are preventative measures that can be the solution, such as intervening in activities to stimulate children’s brain and regulating time spent on devices.

Children’s mental health is on the decline because of the overuse of technology and screen-based device use. Maintaining good mental health is essential even from an early age. Rachel Acheson explains one study showed for every hour spent on social media and computers, “adolescents showed a 0.64-unit increase in depressive symptoms” (Acheson 427). Starting from much younger ages, the claws of depression are capturing children because of the increasing use of social media and computers. Time spent on the television can also affect adolescents’ mental health. Acheson states that when children had high reporting television time, there were higher levels of psychosomatic complaints (Acheson 428). Psychosomatic issues can range from severe depression to feelings of anxiety. Huang and Jinjin’s results show that the overall irritability and bad moods in adolescents were strongly linked to the overuse of screen-based devices (Huang and Jinjin 3). Some argue that mental health is not connected or effected by the excessive use of technology. However, this can be refuted because Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu explain that the use of digital devices affects socio-emotional development (Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu 8). They go on to explain how “excessive social media use has been linked to higher levels of loneliness and depressive symptoms in adolescents” (Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu 8). Several components of technology, if excessively used, can severely influence children’s mental health.

Comparable to mental health, the cognitive function of children is deteriorating due to the impacts of devices and technology. Cognitive function is impacted by lack of sleep due to electronics. Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu saw that when used at bedtime, adolescents struggled with sleep problems and exhaustion during the daytime (Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu 7). Sleep is a factor that is essential to having adequate cognitive function. Comparably, academic performance is declining because of increased screen time. Paulich et al.’s studies show that high-achieving students typically dedicate fewer hours to screen time and sleep for longer than their lower-scoring counterparts (Paulich et al. 2). High academic performance is important for children to prepare for successful lives. To further solidify this point, a study in Egypt showed that students are becoming susceptible to internet addictions, which has consequences on their academic grades (Mohamed et al. 2223). Non-school aged children’s preparedness for school is depleting as well. Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu explains how studies show that even toddlers’ use of mobile devices “was associated with lower expressive language skills and excessive screen time has been linked to deficits in cognitive development in children” (Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu 8). Young children, no matter the age, are not getting adequate amounts of sleep or spending enough time on schoolwork due to overuse of devices.

Along with sleep and academic performance, attention and critical thinking skills are beginning to become affected as well. Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu states that one study showed how when children used digital devices for longer than two hours per day, they scored lower on cognitive tests compared to others who used digital tools less (Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu 3). They explain that the results look like this because technology affects the ability for children’s brains to remain focused and attentive (Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu 3). Because attention spans are decreasing, children are not learning essential life skills such as decision making and critical thinking skills. Concerns are rising due to the heavy reliance children have on modern technologies such as AI technology for problem-solving (Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu 7). Problem-solving skills are imperative for children’s mental processes, and these vital functions are declining because of the increasing use of screen-based devices.

Family relationships are influenced also by children’s use of screen-based devices. Parent-child relationships are the most affected relationship. Tammisalo and Rotkirch explains that adolescents use of devices “was associated with negative evaluations of their relationship with their parents, lowered prosocial behavior toward family, and less and lower quality communication with parents” (Tammisalo and Rotkirch 2742). Communication can affect relationships, so when there is lack of it paired with the excessive use of personal device, it causes rifts in relationships. Lunkenheimer et al. explains that SBDs could replace the much-needed developmentally appropriate interactions with their parents (Lunkenheimer et al. 412). Familial relationships are important to establish necessary social and emotional skills within children. Furthermore, Huang and Jinjin state that it is not only adolescent-parent relationships, but friend and family relationships are decreasing in communication because of social media, creating conflicts and psychological health problems (Huang and Jinjin 2). They use the social displacement theory to further his claim, stating “that time spent on social media replaces the time spent in face-to-face interaction with family and friends, which is highly correlated with individuals’ wellbeing” (Huang and Jinjin 2). Interactions with family members and friends matter for development just as much as well-being and education. Despite the hardships between the relationships, there are ways that families and parents can step in.

Preventative measures can be taken to end the harm children suffer from because of the overuse of technology. The most crucial factors that can end screen addiction are regulation and intervention. Lee et al. explains how studies show that “both family-based and individual-based prevention and intervention efforts could reduce the incidence of Internet addiction” (Lee et al. 438). Intervention can help to find ways to occupy time and learn information, instead of being on devices. Lee goes on to suggest some specific methods of intervention and prevention such as “democratic parenting,” this is a parenting method that uses close and kind supervision with electronics, and “adopting involvement-oriented methods” that changes the use for the internet from age-inappropriate purposes to more academic and learning purposes (Lee et al. 438). Parenting methods and age-appropriate internet use can effectively support the ending of screen addictions. One more proven strategy to intervene with the use of screen time was demonstrated in a study with a school in Brazil by increasing self-efficiency and physical activity in students (Acheson 431). Through using physical activity, the children learned a unique way to spend time other than being on digital devices.

Similarly to intervention measures, regulation is a valid prevention strategy that is utilized to end the screen epidemic. A method of regulation was implemented in Cario, Egypt to eliminate screen addiction in school aged children, it is referred to as a “digital detox” (Mohamed et al. 2223). This program resulted in children finding other activities to participate in, learning skills on how to control self-damaging conduct, and advising their parents about schoolwork (Mohamed et al. 2227). By finding new outlets and creative ways to regulate their time, children are benefiting from these changes in their daily activities. Even small children can benefit from using these strategies. Pre-school aged children responded to reduced screen time very positively, for they showed less aggression towards their parents, compared to the non-regulated control group (Acheson 432). This study is just one instance of the benefits that concluded from lessen electronic use. Opposing views are that intervention and regulation measures do not work when trying to reduce screen time. This is not true, studies show that using methods such as digital detoxes, exercise and body movement, training in responsible electronic habits, and setting regulation timers all can help decrease screen time (Shanmugasundaram and Tamilarasu 8,9). In turn, these methods of reducing screen time aid in improving children’s metal health, cognitive function, and family relationships.

The overuse of electronics is causing damage to a myriad of aspects of children’s lives. Mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are inflating because of increasing amounts of screen time. Childrens’ sleep, academic performance, attention, focus, and other cognitive functions are testing lower because of excessive amounts of device use. Familial relationships are changing due to concern for children’s well-being on screen-based devices and lack of one-on-one time spent together. Strategies and methods are positively changing the issues that these children face. When children have regulated screen time and express themselves in creative ways, studies show beneficial impacts on children and their families. Older generations should work to enhance and use these preventative measures to aid in improving the lives of the next generations. Going forward, I want to continue to research and advocate for more concrete evidence for how children are influenced by technology use. I want to dive deeper into how we can aid younger children through the abusive hands of the overuse of screen-based devices. Children’s mental health, cognitive function, and family relationships are negatively impacted by the overconsumption of technology. Yet, there is still hope because of preventative measures like regulation and intervention that can be implemented to end the addiction to screens.



Work Citied

Acheson, Rachel. “Research Digest: Digital Technology and Its Impact on Child Mental Health.” Journal of Child Psychotherapy, vol. 48, no. 3, Dec. 2022, pp. 422–35. EBSCOhost,

Huang, Yi, and Jinjin Lu. “Associations of Adolescents’ Excessive Electronic Device Use, Emotional Symptoms, Sleep Difficulty, and Communication with Parents: Two-Wave Comparison in the Czech Republic.” Children, vol. 9, no. 8, Aug. 2022, p. 1186. EBSCOhost,

Lee, Vincent Wan-Ping, et al. “Technology and Family Dynamics: The Relationships Among Children’s Use of Mobile Devices, Family Atmosphere and Parenting Approaches.” Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, vol. 39, no. 4, Aug. 2022, pp. 437–44. EBSCOhost,

Lunkenheimer, Erika, et al. “Parental Regulation of Parent and Child Screen-Based Device Use.” International Journal of Behavioral Development, vol. 47, no. 5, Sept. 2023, pp. 410–22. EBSCOhost,

Mohamed, Sayeda M., et al. “Effect of Digital Detox Program on Electronic Screen Syndrome among Preparatory School Students.” Nursing Open, vol. 10, no. 4, Apr. 2023, pp. 2222–28. EBSCOhost,

Paulich, Katie N., et al. “Screen Time and Early Adolescent Mental Health, Academic, and Social Outcomes in 9- and 10-Year-Old Children: Utilizing the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development ℠ (ABCD) Study.” PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 9, Sept. 2021, pp. 1–23. EBSCOhost,

Shanmugasundaram, Mathura, and Arunkumar Tamilarasu. “The Impact of Digital Technology, Social Media, and Artificial Intelligence on Cognitive Functions: A Review.” Frontiers in Cognition, Dec. 2023, pp. 1–11. EBSCOhost,

Tammisalo, Kristiina, and Anna Rotkirch. “Effects of Information and Communication Technology on the Quality of Family Relationships: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, vol. 39, no. 9, Sept. 2022, pp. 2724-2765–2765. EBSCOhost,